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Monthly Archives: February 2012

MWC 2012 day 1 news [Feb 27, 2012]: Samsung and Nokia

 

Samsung had a number of enhanced GALAXY products (see them in the “Details for Samsung” section below). The really strong message from innovation point of view from them has, however, been (considered by them as “hidden gems”):
Samsung Mobile – Beyond Product [ YouTube Channel]

Tour the Samsung Mobile booth at Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona. Find out more about our new innovations, from AllShare Play and Control through Smart Driving and Smart School to NFC mobile payments.

UPDATE: for Nokia the major competition is the overall Android ecosystem, and not only in the proper smartphone market as:
– repeatedly stressed by Stephen Elop, the CEO of Nokia:

Our number-one focus is competing with Android. [see here and here]

The principal competition is Android, and then Apple. [see here]

– indicated in relevant excerpts from the Nokia 2011 fiscal year report [March 8, 2012] as:

Market overview

… Today, however, the distinction between these two classes of products is blurring. Increasingly, basic feature phone models, supported by innovations in both hardware and software, are also providing people with the opportunity to access the Internet and applications and, on the whole, offering them a more smartphone-like experience.

Whether smartphones or feature phones, mobile devices geared for Internet access and their accompanying Internet data plans are also becoming increasingly affordable and, consequently, they are becoming attractive to a broader range of consumer groups and geographic markets. A notable recent development has been the increased affordability of devices based on the Android platform, which has enabled some vendors to offer smartphones for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been dominated by more basic feature phone offerings.

….

Competition

…  some competitors’ offerings based on Android are available for purchase by consumers for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been traditionally dominated by feature phone offerings, including those offered by Nokia. Accordingly, lower-priced smartphones are increasingly reducing the addressable market and lowering the price points for feature phone. …

Principal Factors & Trends Affecting our Results of Operations

Devices & Service

Increased Pervasiveness of Smartphones and Smartphone-like Experiences Across the Price Spectrum

During the past year, we saw the increasing availability of more affordable smartphones, particularly Android-based smartphones, connected devices and related services which were able to reach lower price points contributing to a decline in the average selling prices of smartphones in our industry.

This trend affects us in two ways. First, it puts pressure on the price of our smartphones and potentially our profitability, as we need to price our smartphones competitively. We currently partially address this with our Symbian device offering in specific regions and distribution channels, and we plan to introduce and bring to markets new and more affordable Nokia products with Windows Phone in 2012, such as the Nokia Lumia 610 announced in February 2012. Second, lower-priced smartphones put pressure on our higher-end feature phone offering from our Mobile Phones unit. We are addressing this with our planned introductions in 2012 ofsmarter, competitively priced feature phones with more modern user experiences, including software, services and application experiences. In support of our Mobile Phones business, we also plan to drive third party innovation through working with our partners to engage in building strong, local ecosystems.

Full information is in the Nokia’s strategy for “the next billion” based on software and web optimization with super low-cost 2.5/2.75G SoCs [Feb 14 – March 8, 2012] post on this blog.

END OF UPDATE

For Nokia, accordingly, a number of innovations have already been introduced on the MWC 2012, from the hardware level up to the services which surround all that. So for Nokia I will provide a video-based overview here well before going into the “Details for Nokia” section in the very end:

Nokia Press Conference Highlights from MWC 2012 [ YouTube channel]

Key points: Nokia Lumia 610 is announced. Award-winning Nokia Lumia 900 will become available in various markets outside the US. Nokia PureView elevates industry standard in smartphone imaging. New Asha feature phones and services grow increasingly ‘smarter’.

Nokia Lumia 610 Hands-On Video [ YouTube channel]

The funky Nokia Lumia 610 http://nokia.ly/AztJvZ is the most affordable Lumia phone yet, but it delivers everything you need in a smartphone. The People Hub pulls family and friends’ contact details in one place, along with Facebook and Twitter feeds. A choice of colours, with metallic trim, makes the phone an individual style statement. [$254 (€189). Has a 3.7” 800 x 480 WVGA LCD display.]

The Windows Phone Xbox tie-in and 5-megapixel camera add to the funky package. And Nokia Music, with Mix Radio (availability may vary by market), Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport and Nokia Reading – make this phone unbeatable value.

UPDATE: the Nokia Lumia 610 won Tom’s Hardware Best in show and Best Budget Smartphone from Laptop. See here.

Introducing the White Nokia Lumia 900 – Live Large [ YouTube channel]

Meet the new Nokia Lumia 900 with Windows Phone http://nokia.ly/zoyq6L Find out how fast amazing can be. And social. And beautiful. With its award winning design including front facing camera and Live Tiles, keeping in touch with friends, and the entire Internet, has never been so easy. [$645 (€480). Has a 4.3” 800 x 480 WVGA AMOLED ClearBlack display with Gorilla Glass.]

Experience The Amazing Everyday.

First Look at Nokia Reading on Nokia Lumia [ YouTube channel]

In this hands on video, Rhidian from Nokia talks about Nokia Reading, a premium e-book and audio experience service announced at Mobile World Congress 2012, and shows how it works on Nokia Lumia.

Nokia Reading will be available for Nokia Lumia handsets from April and will first launch in six markets (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia) with more to follow.

UPDATE: Nokia Reading: Get gripped by a great book [Nokia Coversations blog, Feb 28, 2012]

Nokia Reading follows the same simple and elegant panorama design we’ve become used to with other services, delivering the whole experience through a beautifully designed “reading hub.”

Nokia is working with some of the world’s biggest publishers, including Penguin and Hachette, and Pearson to launch a world class e-book and audiobook experience that’s been designed specifically for the Nokia Lumia.

Using a single, simple app you can choose your own favourite authors, or select bestselling novels and the top local books in your own language. If you’re not sure that you’ll like a book, Nokia Reading lets you browse some sample pages before you buy. Or you can download and read one of the thousands of classic works of literature that will be available for free.

Once you have chosen a book, large, clear, smartphone screens like those on the Nokia Lumia make reading an enjoyable experience – and you can switch to ‘night mode,’ change the font or adjust brightness, if your eyes get tired in the evening. It’s also great on an underground train or plane, because you can read everything offline after downloading beforehand over WiFi or mobile network

In coming months you’ll also be able to create a personalized magazine page (called “news stream”) that updates content across the most popular categories, and adds web content from your chosen sites.

Nokia 808 PureView – The next breakthrough in photography [ YouTube channel]

The game changer! Nokia 808 PureView http://nokia.ly/xz6mhS takes every bit of image goodness captured by a 41MP sensor and Carl Zeiss lens and turns it into beautifully detailed images and Full HD videos. Be ready to shoot and share with friends in an instant. [$605 (€450). Has a 4” 640 x 360  16:9 nHD AMOLED display.]

The Nokia 808 PureView also features exclusive Dolby Headphone technology, transforming stereo content into a personal surround sound experience over any headphones and Dolby Digital Plus for 5.1 channel surround sound playback.

UPDATE: Zooming in on Nokia PureView [article on the Nokia Conversations‎ blog, Feb 29, 2012]: meet the brains behind Nokia PureView Eero Salmelin and Juha Alakarhu, and also learn the history of this 5 years long journey that lead to the delivery on MWC 2012

UPDATE: Nokia 808 PureView partner makes it unbeatable [Nokia Conversations blog, March 1, 2012]

Dolby reveals audio secret of new phone’s success

Taking pride of place at their stand, the world’s best camera phone owes much to Dolby technologies for helping to make it an HD mobile entertainment device.

For the PureView is also about pure audio thanks to its high-definition Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-channel surround sound which plays on HD TVs, and home theatre systems, and when combined with Dolby Headphone technology – also built into the PureView – provides a personal 5.1 surround experience over any headphones.

Nokia is also bringing the Dolby experience to other smartphones with Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1 software upgrade for the Nokia 700, Nokia 701, and Nokia 603, also displayed on the Dolby stand.

Mobile Sales Director Shawn Richards talked us through the tech on a Nokia 700 with a demo from Batman movie The Dark Knight.

He explained that the Dolby Headphone upgrade transforms stereo content into a personal surround sound.

“You get a more natural, engaging, and authentic sound,” he said. “Good audio is even more important when you are watching a movie on a small screen. And Dolby Headphone creates a totally immersive feel.”

UPDATE: Nokia 808 Pureview – Best New Mobile Handset, Device or Tablet at Mobile World Congress 2012 [ YouTube channel, March 1, 2012]

Nokia 808 PureView wins top MWC award!
Our awesome camera phone scoops the top award from Mobile World Congress 2012 judges.

UPDATE: Damian Dinning explains Nokia PureView technology [ YouTube channel, Feb 29, 2012]

Nokia’s imaging expert Damian Dinning explains the breakthrough camera technology behind Nokia 808 PureView.

You could also check out the gorgeous photos taken with Nokia 808 PureView from the flickr.

UPDATE: Nokia PureView Q&A with Damian Dinning [interview on the Nokia Conversations‎ blog, March 1, 2012]

Nokia Stereo Bluetooth Headset BH-221 – See what you hear [ YouTube channel]

The new Nokia Stereo Bluetooth Headset BH-221 comes with an integrated FM radio and OLED display. It as excellent audio quality and NFC for easy pairing with your phone. Learn more at: www.accessories.nokia.com

Nokia Asha 302: Meet the designer [ YouTube channel]

Nokia Asha 302 http://nokia.ly/xXK4kV was designed with one simple goal in mind – to design the best looking QWERTY phone for today’s urban professionals. The metallic touch points, bold and sophisticated colors and smooth edges help users stand out and project success giving the phone a great premium feel. [$128 (€95). Has a 2.4” 320 x 240  QVGA TFT display.]

UPDATE: The Nokia C3-00 won Best Feature Phone or Entry Level Phone at the GSMA Awards 2012 in Barcelona. Blanca Juti, VP for Mobile Phones Product Marketing said to Nokia Conversations after collecting the prize: “It’s great for our products going forward, because the Nokia Asha 302 we launched yesterday is pretty much the successor to C3 which has had an amazing run in the market.” See here.

Nokia Asha 302: Premium All Round QWERTY [ YouTube channel]

Nokia Asha 302 http://nokia.ly/x5m2zm is a QWERTY phone with great value for money. It is packed with a 1 Ghz processor and is great for social networking, Email, Instant messaging, supports Mail for Exchange and has a premium design with stunning looks.

Nokia Asha 203: Simply touch, connect and play [ YouTube channel]

The Nokia Asha 203 http://nokia.ly/x78ZBe is a touch phone with a traditional keypad, offering fast and affordable access to the internet, easy access to email and social networks as well as a 40 EA games gift offering. [$81 (€60). Has a 2.4” QVGA display.]

Nokia Asha 202 Dual SIM: Simply touch, connect and play [ YouTube channel]

The Nokia Asha 202 http://nokia.ly/yOGbDA is a touch phone with a traditional keypad, offering fast and affordable access to the internet, easy access to email and social networks as well as a 40 EA games gift offering. Plus it comes with Easy Swap Dual SIM.  [$81 (€60). Has a 2.4” QVGA display.]

After exactly a year from the announcement of their new strategic set-up and direction it is quite obvious from all that above that Nokia is well on to realizing the corresponding transition. In fact they are redefining themselves which is well described by this video just published 2 days before the start of MWC 2012:

The New Essence of Nokia  [ YouTube channel]

We believe that everybody can have a richer, fuller life every day, everywhere. That means upgrading an ordinary moment to an exciting one or finding an unexpected experience to share with others. Intuitively, fast and easy. This is Nokia’s new mantra, this is the new essence of Nokia.

I see this overall brand message fitting rather well with their new and enhanced portfolio as you could judge for yourself from the above video presentations. In this way they have proceeded quite well from the disastrous situation they were a year ago, and which had been described quite extensively in the following post on this blog: Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! [Feb 21 – March 25, 2011].


 Details for Samsung

This is the first hands-on video of GALAXY Beam from the Mobile World Congress 2012. GALAXY Beam is Samsung’s new projector smartphone that allows you to display and share multimedia content or business information instantly no matter where you are. For more information: http://www.samsungmobilepress.com/2012/02/26/GALAXY-Beam
MobileBurn.com – Samsung had relatively few things to announce at MWC 2012 this year, but one of them was the Galaxy Note 10.1, a larger version of the original Galaxy Note. The Note 10.1 uses the Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) as its design inspiration (it looks nearly identical), but it adds S Pen capabilities to draw and notate on the screen. The Note 10.1 is powered by a dual-core, 1.4GHz processor and runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich with Samsung’s TouchWiz enhancements. More info: http://www.mobileburn.com/18681/gallery/samsung-galaxy-note-101-live-impressions

Details for Nokia

All the launches: Nokia at Mobile World Congress [Nokia Conversations‎ blog]

BARCELONA, Spain – Nokia announces six new phones and an array of new and updated services, advancing its new strategy and setting the pace for 2012.

Here’s our star-studded line-up for Barcelona 2012.

Nokia Lumia 610

The Nokia Lumia 610 is our most affordable Windows Phone to date – and the fourth we’ve brought to market. It’s aimed at young people who want access to a smartphone experience at the right price. Offering access to social networking, games, Nokia Maps and navigation, web-browsing and Nokia Music, the Lumia 610 comes in four bright colours. It will cost just €189 [$254] before taxes and subsidies, and starts shipping in April.

Nokia Lumia 900

First announced in January for AT&T’s LTE network in the US, the Nokia Lumia 900 will now be available worldwide in an HSPA+ edition. The Dual Carrier HSPA phone will allow for downloads up 42.2 Mbps. With a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, mobile media never looked so good, while an upgraded battery means there’s no compromise on longevity.

[Lumia 900 [DC-HSPA variant] $645 (€480) according to the press release]

Read the full story

which one is your favourite

Nokia 808 PureView

The Nokia 808 PureView extends our leadership in camera phones, with an amazing 41-megapixel sensor, Carl Zeiss optics and brand new pixel over-sampling technology. This means pin-sharp pictures, great low-light performance, yet with the ability to save your images in a suitable file size for social media, MMS and email. Also watch out for full 1080p video recording and exclusive Dolby Headphone technology to enrich the sound of any stereo content.
[The Nokia 808 PureView has a current price of €450 [$605]. It will be hitting stores in Q2 2012. – according to a press report]

Read the full story

Nokia Asha 302, 202 and 203

We’re also introducing three new Nokia Asha mobile phones with new capabilities to bring them to smarter heights than ever. Aimed at urban consumers across the world, the Nokia Asha 302, 202 and 203 offer more than ever in terms of work and play. The Asha 302 is a QWERTY phone with support for Microsoft Exchange synchronisation, a first for Series 40 phones. The Asha 202 and 203 bring touch screens to a lower price point than ever and come with a massive entertainment bundle.
[Asha 202/203 $81 (€60), Asha 302 $128 (€95) according to the press release]

Read the full story 

New-Capabilities

Super Services

Not satisfied with six new phones, there’s a whole raft of new and improved services. Nokia Drive for Windows Phone will now offer full, offline maps and turn-by-turn navigation. In addition, there’s Nokia Reading, the best e-book experience for Nokia Lumia. And Nokia Life bringing life skills, parenting, education, agriculture and entertainment services to Series 30 and 50 phones in India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria.

Read the full story

Click through for all the in-depth stories from today’s press conference. We’ll be bringing you even more detail, hands-on experiences and interviews with the brains behind these beauties over the course of the week.

Nokia 808 PureView

Remember that Nokia PureView tease from a few days ago? Well, suddenly it all makes sense. We are indeed looking at an imaging flagship phone and a true successor to the N8. It’s called the 808 PureView and it’s expected to reach Europe in the next quarter for a price of 450 Euros. Before we move on to its craziest feature — the camera, of course! — let’s run down the other key specs: The OS is Symbian Belle; the engine is a 1.3GHz single-core chip; the display is 4-inches corner to corner but its resolution is a Nokia-style 360 x 640 (nHD). There’s 512MB of RAM and 16GB of on-board storage that is thankfully expandable via microSD. A Pentaband modem increases the chances of getting a signal while globe-trotting, while data speeds will top out at plain HSPA 14.4Mbps. Now that Carl Zeiss-lensed camera: it handles continuous-focus 1080p, but is claimed to have an incredible sensor resolution of over 41-megapixels when shooting stills — or 34-megapixels for 16:9 images. It’s achieved by some clever sub-pixel interpolation jiggery-pokery that entails five pixels being merged into one to produce a final image with a max resolution of 8-megapixels, but we’ll dig deeper very soon. It’s expected to arrive in May at a price of €450 and if you’re curious, we’ve got a gallery of hands-on images and video for your viewing pleasure. Just follow the break for our first impressions. If you haven’t been sufficiently smacked in the face with the Nokia 808 PureView’s primary selling point, let’s settle the score right now: it’s a phone for camera enthusiasts. As niche devices often go, the sheer optical goodness will come with a few sacrifices. First and foremost, we’re a bit puzzled by Nokia’s choice of Symbian for the phone’s OS. That’s not to say that Belle isn’t a fine operating system, but it’s certainly a polarizing decision — not to mention perplexing, given the company’s ‘all-in’ approach to Windows Phone. Secondly, the 808 PureView is rather chunky, which is emphasized by the bulbous camera pod on the rear. In many ways, Nokia’s phone more closely rivals a point-and-shoot camera in size than a smartphone. That said, it’s still an infinitely pocketable handset, but there are certainly many other high-quality camera phones on the market that don’t demand such sacrifices. If you’re able to move beyond these two major caveats, the 808 PureView is likely a handset that many will come to adore — even if the fondness is learned over time. It features a lovely ClearBlack display, and while it’s decidedly low-res, it’s more than sufficient for Symbian Belle and its associated apps. Below the phone’s screen, users will find an extended rocker that provides access to the home screen, dialer and on / off switch. These physical buttons are combined with additional navigation options that are situated directly above on the touchscreen. The phone also features a headphone jack, micro-USB and micro-HDMI ports along the top — each recessed into a pod of their own — and the volume rocker, screen lock slider and dedicated camera button along the right-hand side. Via engadget

Nokia Lumia 610 and 900 [DC-HSPA variant]

Live from MWC 2012 Phonearena presents Nokia Lumia 610 demo. A heavily rumored handset, the Nokia Lumia 610 was finally announced today here at MWC 2012. As expected, the 610 is the first real budget-friendly Windows Phone, expected to retail for about $255 (EUR 189), which is pretty decent for a Windows Phone. For the full details, see our Nokia Lumia 610 Hands-on Review from MWC 2012 at: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-Lumia-610-Hands-on-Review_id27389

Nokia Asha 302, 202 and 203

PhoneArena live from MWC 2012: Nokia Asha 302 Hands-on Review. The Nokia Asha 302 is the full QWERTY business class addition to the extremely affordable Asha lineup based on Series 40. For the full details, see our Nokia Asha 302 hands-on from MWC 2012 at: http://www.phonearena.com/news/Nokia-Asha-302-Hands-on-Review_id27399

Super Services

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Continued Toshiba-SanDisk dominance for flash memories

Related information:
One terabit of data in a fingertip-size NAND flash memory package from Intel and Micron joint venture [this blog, Dec 7, 2011]
Understanding TLC NAND [AnandTech, Feb 23, 2011]
Note: For MLC, you store two bits per cell. That is what SanDisk calling X2 technology. TLC takes that a step further and stores three bits per cell. SanDisk is calling that X3 technology. (They have even X4 technology which –however– they don’t produce anymore.)

SANDISK INAND EXTREME EMBEDDED FLASH MEMORY INCLUDED ON LEADING WINDOWS 8 DEVELOPMENT PLATFORMS [SanDisk press release, Feb 26, 2012]

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, BARCELONA, Feb. 26, 2012 – SandiskCorporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced it is working with key industry chipset vendors to help ensure a best-in-class user experience for mobile devices based on Microsoft Corp.’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

Companies such as Intel Corporation, Qualcomm Incorporated and Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) are using SanDisk iNAND Extreme embedded flash memory with some of their top Windows 8 hardware development platforms. SanDisk is working with these companies to optimize its iNAND Extreme flash memory products with Windows 8-based tablet and mobile designs.

“SanDisk is known for its deep technical expertise and has strong relationships with all major mobile handset and tablet manufacturers, mobile chipset vendors, operating system developers and standardization bodies,” said Dan Inbar, SanDisk senior vice president and general manager, OEM. “Because of the effort we make to continually drive innovation and foster stronger relationships with industry partners, we’re well positioned to extend our status as a leading provider of storage solutions to Windows 8-based systems.”

SanDisk iNAND Extreme is the company’s highest-performance e.MMC (embedded multi-media card) solution with up to 50MB* per second write and 80MB* per second read performance, along with very high speed random performance. SanDisk iNAND Extreme is optimized to improve system responsiveness and multitasking performance, as well as the browsing experience of Windows 8-based devices. iNAND Extreme is currently sampling to customers in 16GB to 64GB**capacities and is expected to be available in the second quarter.

“Qualcomm selected SanDisk’s iNAND Extreme technology for some of its Snapdragon S4-based reference design platforms running Windows 8 because Qualcomm wants to offer a best-in-class mobile user experience, including a high quality visual experience and high processing performance,” said Raj Talluri, vice president of product management, Qualcomm.

As smartphones, tablets and other consumer electronics devices become more complex it is increasingly important that all aspects of hardware and software design work together efficiently. Particularly with the introduction of new operating systems and more advanced applications, the need for tight integration between hardware and software is essential. SanDisk works with the entire ecosystem of hardware and software vendors to ensure its flash memory chips are optimized to help improve efficiency and deliver a better user experience.

As a result of this commitment to delivering a better mobile experience, SanDisk is deeply engaged with many other companies in the industry. This teamwork is on display this week at the SanDisk booth partner pavilion at Mobile World Congress located in Hall 8, booth number 8B91.

SanDisk Mobile Memory Leadership Products
As smaller, more powerful mobile devices have proliferated throughout the consumer electronics market, the use of flash memory has expanded from mobile phones and tablets to enable new products and new usage models. The SanDisk iNAND product family includes an embedded storage solution for every performance segment and capacity point in the mobile market including smartphones, tablets and consumer electronics. The SanDisk iNAND family includes iNAND*™, iNAND Ultra and iNAND Extreme products and includes SanDisk’s industry leading two and three-bit-per-cell NAND flash memory technology.

Harari Delivers Inspiring Keynote at ISSCC [Jim Handy, Objective Analysis Memory Market Research, Feb 23, 2012]

The annual International Solid State Circuits Eli Harari Delivers ISSCC KeynoteConference (ISSCC) is a gathering in which the brightest minds in semiconductors come to meet and share the results of their recent research and development efforts. This year the four keynotes at the opening plenary centered on a “Green” outlook, through Storage, Control, Computing, and Energy.

Naturally, as “The Memory Guy,” I focused all of my attention upon the storage keynote, given by SanDisk’s recently-retired CEO Eli Harari [an Israeli engineer founding SanDisk in 1988 together with Sanjay Mehrotra, the CEO since January 2011, and a US engineer of Indian birth]. Some of the more interesting points I came away with were:

  • In 1987, three years after having invented NOR flash, Toshiba’s Fujio Matsuoka invented NAND flash. This yielded a memory cell very close to the theoretical smallest size of 4f². Matsuoka is an “Out of the box” thinker.
  • Nobody thought it would work and looked upon NAND as a “crazy idea.” It was a solution looking for a problem.
  • Harari thanks Toshiba for not abandoning NAND. Perseverance in the face of naysayers really does pay off.
  • When SanDisk started to use NAND the controller overhead was so great the company was ridiculed by its competitors. The company stood its ground and eventually assisted NAND prevailed.
  • The lesson from this is: Stick to your convictions, especially when your gut instinct tells you that you’re right.
  • With today’s technology a 64GB microSD card offers about 6TB (that’s right Terabytes) per cubic inch. That means that the entire US Library of Congress can be contained in about 1.5 cubic inches (55cc.)
  • The Toshiba/SanDisk joint venture has been one of the most successful in the history of semiconductors, and now supplies roughly 40% of the world’s NAND flash.

The presentation included several historical landmarks I won’t include here and some humorous twists, as well as slides so technical that I didn’t understand them. (I have always been unable to grasp the basic concepts of energy bands.) Most important were the life lessons from an undisputed leader in the industry.

Harari’s keynote had the rapt attention of everyone in the room.

SanDisk co-founder: Flash to squeeze out hard drives and DRAM by 2020 [ExtremeTech, Feb 23, 2012]

The co-founder of SanDisk and one of the illustrious fathers of flash memory, Eli Harari, says that flash memory will “checkmate” hard drives by 2020. This is in stark contrast to Microsoft Research and UCSD, which earlier this week claimed that solid-state storage would meet its maker by 2024.

Speaking at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) on Monday, Harari not only proclaimedthat NAND flash would supplant spinning-platter hard drives, but also that DRAM could be on the way out as well. “Today, the cost of NAND per gigabyte is 10 times lower than the cost of DRAM … and that’s not likely to change,” Harari said. “The question is, can 10 gigabytes of NAND or one gigabyte of DRAM give you a better performance boost?”

Flash has been the dominant storage medium for years in the mobile space — cheap NAND was one of the most important factors in the explosion of digital photography and smartphones — and through tablets, ultrabooks, and enterprise applications, SSDs are really starting to dig into the HDD market share. With the steadily declining price of solid-state drives and their far superior performance, it’s really no big surprise.

According to Harari, though, it will be 3D resistive RAM (3D-ReRAM) that results in “checkmate for the hard disk drive industry.” ReRAM is a very old tech, but for various reasons never made it to the limelight — until 2008, when HP created the first memresistor. In much the same way that Intel has moved to FinFET to scale beyond 22nm, 3D-ReRAM is expected to take over from NAND flash at around 11nm, sometime in the next few years.

It is anticipated that 3D-ReRAM will be so fast and high-density that hard drives will be reduced to specific use cases, much like magnetic tape. “I believe that by 2020, flash – -which is highly scaled NAND and 3D resistive RAM –- will be the undisputed king of storage,” Harari predicts.

Finally, Herari also notes that the emergence and increasing reliance on cloud computing and storage could pose an issue, especially for mobile devices. Ultimately, irrespective of how much flash storage we have, mobile bandwidth is finite. There’s no point having hundreds of gigabytes of ultra-fast flash storage both in the cloud and on your phone when it can cost tens of dollars to transfer a single gigabyte of cellular data over a few-megabit connection.

More information: SanDisk daddy: Flash to ‘checkmate’ hard drives by 2020 [The Register, Feb 22, 2012]

SanDisk Corp. – Analyst/Investor Day transcripts [Seeking Alpha, Feb 16, 2012]
Corresponding presentation slides

SanDisk’s President and CEO, Sanjay Mehrotra:
… On the technology front, 2011 was another solid year for us. We launched 19 nanometer technology, the smallest node in production. And our die in 19 nanometer is the smallest, most cost-effective die. We led the industry with 19 nanometer technology development, but we also continue to work on future scaling, NAND scaling, 3D, BiCS technology, as well as 3D resistive RAM. And you are going to hear from us more later on in the presentations. …

image

So let me talk about technology. We just announced our 19 nanometer, and we are shipping it since late last year. Our 19-nanometer, 128-gigabit deviceis the smallest memory chip in the industry, the most cost-effective memory chip. So our 19-nanometer portfolio gives us the most cost-effective multiple dies — multiple die — I mean multiple capacities such as 64 gigabit and 128 gigabit, and they are now ramping into production. Our 19-nanometer production is going successfully, and this is a mark of our technology and cost leadership in the industry.

Here, system expertise is used for 3-bit-per-cell production, because 3-bit-per-cell would not be possible without all the algorithms and the enhancements — performance enhancement features that the controllers implement on them. We leverage the controller expertise for such high level of 3-bit production, but we also leverage several advanced design techniques in our memory chip such as, an example I’ve shown here, of all bit line, ABL architecture. So SanDisk is very much focused on continuing to advance our memory cost leadership with features implemented in the chip, as well as in the systems.

image

And for the future, we are working on 3-pronged strategy that we have talked to you about before. First is about NAND scaling. Our engineers believe that NAND will continue to scale for a few more generations. Our roadmap shows that next year, we will have 1Y technology node in production for further cost reduction and giving us more bit growth. Following year, 2014, we believe we will have 1Z node in production, and we are continuing to work on future scaling approaches for NAND memory.

We believe that NAND will be the dominant technology in production for this decade. The ultimate technology as the NAND successor will be the 3D resistive RAM, which we have made strong progress in 2011. Strong progress in terms of materials research in determining the viability of this technology. This technology requires EUV for production, and we think this technology has production opportunity in beyond 2015 time frame.

And with 3D resistive RAM as the ultimate technology for the NAND successor, the BiCS 3D NAND, which we began collaboration with Toshiba early last year, we believe can offer interesting opportunities for bridge between future scaled NAND to the ultimate technology in the high-volume production of 3D resistive RAM. And the benefit of BiCS 3D NAND is that it can use the existing fab infrastructure to provide further cost reduction and higher capacity chips in the future.

I think our 3-pronged technology approach here, working in parallel on NAND scaling, on BiCS 3D NAND, as well as the ultimate 3D resistive RAM technology is a unique and differentiated approach. And I believe that we are well positioned for technology leadership for this decade and beyond. You will hear a lot more details of this from Ritu later on in his presentation.

… now I want to move into the third element of our vertical integration, our supply chain.

And here, first, I will talk about our fab infrastructure at Yokkaichi, Japan, in joint venture with Toshiba. What you are seeing here is the aerial view of our fab facilities in Japan. You see Fab 3 and Fab 4, and you see Phase 1 of Fab 5, which has completed construction and is already in production. And next to Phase 1, you can see vacant lot, and that is for future buildout of Phase 2. And ultimately, in the future, depending upon demand requirements, as we build out completely Phase 1 and build Phase 2, once Phase 1 and Phase 2 are both fully equipped in the future, the total capacity of Fab 5 will be similar to Fab 4.

image

I want to show you here that this complex of Fab 3, Fab 4 and Fab 5 is actually operating like one big mega fab. We have capability, as you can see on this picture, of transporting wafers between the factories. This red line actually shows an automated inter-building transportation system for the wafers. And I think the benefits of this really would be obvious. You are able to utilize the equipment in all 3 fabs. You are able to get the economies of this very large scale of these mega fabs of operation and essentially utilize these equipments at the highest utilization rate possible. So this is very good in terms of cost effectiveness of our production in our fabs in Yokkaichi.

Now let me move to our captive supply outlook. And we, in our last earnings call, had talked about that Fab 5 Phase 1 is now 30% equipped. We reached that level in January. We completed the ramp, the initial ramp in January. And we also had discussed in the earning call that we have paused the ramp and we don’t plan to start that ramp again, at least until July. So there are 2 key factors here to look at. We made this decision on a month-to-month basis. We look at our demand requirements for the future, and we also look at our progress of 19-nanometer technology ramp, as well as the yield RAM [ph]. And 19-nanometer technology is proceeding well in production. And we expect that for this year, our production ramp plan in Fab 5, together with our Fab 3 and Fab 4 production and 19-nanometer transition, will give us bit growth that will be slightly less than 2011’sbit growth. And just to remind you, the 2011 bit growth was 77%.

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So we think that in terms of supply, our captive supply growth for this year, we are very well positioned to deliver a strong 2012. And looking at capacity expansion considerations beyond 2012, that means 2013 onward, the key factors here will be continuing capacity ramp in Phase I based on demand assessments. Second part would be for future buildout of Phase 2, which I don’t expect to be happening before 2013. And of course, our future technology transitions on NAND 1Y and 1Z, as well as the future technologies, the BiCS 3D NAND, as well as 3D resistive RAMboth will play a role in our future capacity plans, depending upon their production capabilities.

Ritu Shrivastava, Vice President of Technology Development:
Sanjay already mentioned and talked about the 3-pronged approach that we have, 3-pronged strategy, which is the NAND scaling, continue NAND scaling as long as possible, work on future technologies, which are the 3D resistive RAM and the BiCS 3D NAND for us. And these will allow us to assure competitive advantage, to keep scaling the technology, to keep reducing the cost, to keep increasing the density so that we can enable many more new applications compared to even what we have right now.

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So let me tell you where we are right now. This is the technology roadmap that you probably already have seen. The 24-nanometer technology is in volume production — has been in volume production. 19-nanometer technology is the workhorse for this year, 2012, and it’s doing very well in the fab, ramping up. We have been working on 1Y technology, which will be for next year. And our main goal is to be able to have technologies, which when in production, give us the smallest die size, highest density, best reliability and in time. So 19-nanometer technology is in production. As an example, the highest density part that we have there is a 128-gigabit chip, which is an X3 3-bits-per-cell product. It is the highest density product in the world and the smallest die size in the world. That’s a very good achievement.

And earlier, you heard about vertical integration. Vertical integration allows these kinds of products, both X2 and X3, to be used in a variety of applications with very high reliability and performance. In fact, if you look at this product, it is, I’m very happy to say, it’s been accepted for presentation, publication in ISSCC, which is the premier design and technology conference, international solid-state circuit conference, and it will be presented there week after next. So for more details, you can tune into that.

Now how do we keep continuing with the scaling? So our view is that NAND scaling will keep continuing. However, there are many challengesthere that we need to overcome and we’ve been working very well to overcome those challenges. In this slide here, I describe a couple of those. Of course, the fundamental cell parameters have to be optimized, but these are the main ones that will determine how far NAND can scale.

So first one, of course, is the lithography. That is very critical. So the top right chart shows the cell X and Y dimensions. Obviously, those determine the final die size of the product, not just that, how you choose the scaling and X and Y dimension also determines the reliability. If you keep scaling it very fast before it’s time, you might not have a reliable product, so you have to very carefully optimize what X and Y dimensions are. The current lithography tools that we have in the fab, and those are available to anybody, the best ones are immersion lithography. And there’s a limit to X and Y dimension to which you can scale using the existing lithography. It’s shown in the green quadrant there. On the red side of the chart, the red quadrant, is the future lithography. That’s where you have EUV, you have different kinds of patterning, et cetera, but that gets very expensive and those technologies are not ready right now for production. So we have to scale the technologies intelligently. The cell size has to be scaled with care so that we can have a smallest die size product with highest reliability and which is manufacturable. Publishing papers, et cetera can keep going on the red quadrant but when you talk about the actual production, that’s what we need to focus on.

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The second consideration that every flash vendor has to go through is the physical limit. So in the middle picture there, I’m showing the conventional cell that is the workhorse of the industry, very much for all the manufacturers. But the tricks that we use with the process innovation, et cetera, are going to determine how much you can scale and at what point do you need to change the structure. So what I’m showing there is there is a cell-to-cell interaction that goes on and as it keeps scaling at some point, you’re not able to deposit the layer which isolates the 2 cells. At that point, the cell becomes unreliable. There’s too much interaction that goes on. And so we have to go through process innovations, which we are going through to extend the proven workhorse cell as long as possible.

The third limit is the electrical limit. When you keep scaling the cell, the number of electrons which store your information in the cell keeps reducing. So the plot on the bottom right in red shows as we go through different technology generations how the number of electrons is reducing, right? And of course, one of my and our job functions is to keep those electrons from getting lost, being there. So as you see, they keep going down, and that is not good. So we have to, again, come up with process innovations where you change the structure of the process in a way that you keep the electrons as large as possible. And so there you see in the green chart, we’ve been able to do that. And that allows us to keep scaling. So the bottom line is that there will be process innovations required. There will be, in each NAND generation technology, could be significant changes. But the infrastructure that we have in place for this conventional NAND, the more we can extend it, the better cost structure we’ll have. So solving these problems through innovations keeps other costs low, which is one of the main goals. Of course, we’ll change the cell structure when needed.

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So we see that NAND scaling is going to keep going for a few more generations. And the innovations and process manufacturing technologies and the kind of vertical integration that you heard about earlier from Sanjay and others, in memory design, test, system-level solutions will allow us to extend this NAND roadmap. And with that, we’ll keep continuing, delivering the smallest die, highest density, low cost, good reliability, et cetera.

image

So when we take all that into account, this is what we are projecting our roadmap will look like. And you are looking at — on the 2014, 1Z technology, 1Z NAND and maybe some beyond that. And of course, in the meantime, we are making progress, good progress in our future technologies. Very aggressive post-NAND development work. So 1Y will be the technology for production for 2013. 1Z will come after that, and who knows how far we can keep going with that because when we will — because nobody really knows what the limits of NAND are. If you recall, I’m sure all of you know, when we were at 4x technologies, everyone was wondering, that’s the last node, then we went to 32, 24. Here, we are at 19. 19-nanometer is 190 angstroms. Gate oxides used to be 300 angstroms 15, 20 years back. Here we are in the horizontal direction with that kind of CD [ph]. So nobody really knows how long NAND can keep scaling. So we have to keep trying and we have to be innovative.

image

But we are aggressively working on the future NAND, future technologies beyond NAND, and I’d like to give a brief update on our 3D resistive RAM. So once you go beyond the electronic storage, we get into the realm of where we have to rely on material change. So 3D resistive RAM is dependent on the resistance change of the material versus the electrons. And this approach, we believe, is the best approach for the long term. This technology, once we put in production, will keep going for a long time. However, the current promising approaches — that we have for this technology require EUV, extreme EUV lithography, which as you probably know, is not ready and still is in development. But there are many other components to this technology that we still can work on and perfect, so that when the technology’s available for lithography, we can put this in production. And as an example — and we made good progress there. As an example, on the right chart there, you see the bit cycling yield. Cycling is when you go through — you take the material through low resistance and high resistance state and you keep cycling as a function of number of cycles. It looks very good. So we are very pleased with that. So this can provide us with production opportunities beyond 2015.And we are very excited about that.

image

The second technology which we’re working on, which is still a form of NAND but it’s a 3-dimensional NAND, so the NAND string here is vertical, which means that you can have a number of layers, one on top of the other. You can come up with products with extremely high densities, which are not possible by 2D NAND that we currently have. Moreover, it utilizes the existing infrastructure. It does not rely, it does not need EUV. So you are able to take this technology, utilize the existing infrastructure and take it to production. Again, we are making progress here. We have had some good key developments on the process front. We have a 24-layer development test vehicle. By the way, for both the 3D resistive RAM that I showed earlier, that was also tested utilizing a test vehicle to look at all the process and device technology developments.

So here, we have got 24-layer structure. In the middle picture, you see the fully processed wafer. On the right-hand side, you see a picture which was taken in line. Again, please note that these are still in these process modules and technology. They’re still in development. At the bottom, you’ll see something very interesting, which is storing 2 bits per cell. You see 4 states, distinct states that is required for the 3D RAM technology to be cost effective. And we are very pleased to see that we’re able to do that. So this could be a bridge to the 3D resistive RAMtechnology that I showed earlier. And if we’re able to complete this development and the timing is right then it can go into production using existing infrastructure.

Now let me change the topic a little bit. Earlier, I talked about different technologies. The question, of course, arises. Are these new technologies going to replace the applications that we have for NAND? And so here, I’m showing a spider chart, which shows 2 kinds of things. It’s kind of busy but I think you can see the black boxes with the red boundary. The attributes of technologies, so low cost per bit. One of the reasons why NAND has been so successful is because of scaling the technology and the cost reductions. SanDisk alone in the last 20 years has reduced the cost by a factor of 50,000. 50,000. That’s quite a lot. Other technologies right now are not getting scaled like the NAND has been scaling. So low cost per bit is important. Endurance, you have the speed, and then you have the data retention.

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Now different applications may require different combinations of these things. For example, if you look at the 1:00 position there, there’s an application for set-top boxes [TV/STB]. I’m sure many of you have them. Set-top boxes keep storing data constantly. But you don’t read them that often. So the endurance requirement there has to be very high. But the data retention doesn’t need to be that high.

If you look at 10:00 position, there’s an application for navigation. I’m sure many or most of you have GPS systems. GPS requires reading all the time. There’s no writing, so why burden that application with high endurance kind of consideration or requirement? So you can trade off — one of the beauties of NAND is you can trade off performance, data retention, endurance and make it applicable to a given application. That’s what is so powerful about NAND.

So the spider chart shows you qualitatively, and actually, we have gone quantitative calculations too, of how this given technology or a given technology does against those different properties. So if you look at the next one, which is BiCS, I showed and talked about that earlier, comes very close. In fact, in cost per bit, it’s even better. Obviously, once we start designing the systems, the circuit design architecture, you can optimize some of these things and maybe we can actually improve upon this.

This one in yellow is the 3D resistive RAM. This is the reason why we think this is a technology of future, which can replace NAND. Most of the properties that you see here are actually better — can be better in 3D resistive RAM.

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So this, in short, tells us that we have a very, very strong strategy, a 3-pronged strategy, which allows us continuation of scaling that we have going on right now on the NAND, push NAND as hard as we can. Obviously, we’ll have challenges but we need to solve them and use the existing infrastructure. We think that NAND will be the dominant technology for the rest of the decade. We also think that technologies are very likely to coexist. I don’t envision where one day suddenly somebody has a very good technology and within 6 months or a year, you can replace something as strong and widespread and useful as NAND with the infrastructure that we have in the fabs, et cetera. And that 3D resistive RAM will be the successor into the next decade.

So I think we are positioned extremely well in terms of where we are, where we have to go in the short term and where we will be in the long term. And hopefully, this 4K to 64 gig someday will be multiple terabits, and we’ll all have to figure out what we’re going to use it for, like we were wondering about 20 years back. Thank you.

SanDisk Corp. – Analyst/Investor Day Q&A [Seeking Alpha, Feb 16, 2012]

Unknown Attendee

I was wondering in the SSD space, if you could comment on maybe your units or market share, and if you have any visibility or expectations into what that might bias towards one way or another. And then somewhat separately, on the stand-alone SSD drive, when we’re talking about the 128-gig densities, is there any price elasticity that you’re starting to see there that can maybe get consumers biasing up towards higher densities that they’re accustomed to with the hard disk drives?

Sanjay Mehrotra

Kevin, you…

Kevin Conley

Yes. So over the last year, we’re obviously just establishing ourselves in the mainstream SSD space. So it’s probably a little bit early to be talking about market share significantly. We feel that with the growth in the opportunity in the market and the strength that SanDisk brings, that we will see increased market share over the next year, and very much see that as a positive opportunity. In terms of the elasticity in — 128 gigabyte is seen as the mainstream capacity there, because 60 gig is a little bit too small with the images of the OS, et cetera. So in that 128 gigabyte, a generally accepted rule of thumb is that as soon as the cost comes below $100 to the end user that, that as an option against even 1 terabyte of rotating storage is where people will start to gravitate towards that. I think it’s a little bit hard to know if that’s true or not. We’ve heard $1 per gigabyte. We’ve heard a number of different easy numbers to get our heads around to see that. I think, though, that where we sit today at around that $1 per gigabyte point, that we do start to see this being adopted in greater numbers and are starting to see an inflection point.

Sanjay Mehrotra

I will just add that from a share perspective, as we showed you that last year, our revenue, approximately 3% from SSD, total contribution of SSD on our revenue. So that last year, our share particularly on the client side is small. However, we are on a fast revenue ramp rate on this part of the business and we absolutely expect to be gaining share there, on our march toward — SSD is becoming 25% of our revenue. So it’s a huge opportunity ahead for us.

Unknown Attendee

And I was wondering also with X3, where is it in terms of endurance and how close is it to maybe meeting some of the capabilities that the SSD market might want it to have?

Kevin Conley

So in the client space, I would say that based upon our experience, especially in the entry-level space and some of those other opportunities apart from the mainstream computing, that X3 probably does have some very interesting applications there. And you can expect probably to hear more about this from us in the future.

Unknown Attendee

So there seems to be 2 different timelines for when 3D ReRAM will be ready and when the EUV tools will be ready. Can you maybe speak a little bit about the potential time lag in the future?

Ritu Shrivastava

Okay. So as everyone knows, EUV is behind its original schedule in terms of the production worthiness. And as I mentioned in my presentation, the promising 3D technology does require EUV. So as we mentioned, 3D resistive RAM technology is for beyond 2015. In the interim period, as a bridge, that is why we are working on the 3D NAND, which is BiCS. It does not require EUV. So I think in terms of the timelines, when the EUV systems are ready for production, it can be deployed. And of course, the cost and everything depends on the readiness of the EUV system. Right now, as everyone knows, the throughput of EUV system is not there yet, it still has long ways to go.

Unknown Attendee

… And then question number 2 goes to Ritu. So when do you think these penny-sized SSD, the 128 gigabytes will reach an inflection point? Because Intel announced a chip with, I think, Micron, right? These 128-gigabyte NAND chips, I can basically fit on motherboards I think within 1 or 2 years. And so how will that affect you competitively? And the second one, what do you think of IBM’s PCM chips?

Kevin Conley

[Re: Intel-Micron] Yes, so regarding the iSSD [SanDisk iSSD integrated solid state device with wide range of capacities (8 GB- 128 GB) introduced in August 18, 2010 with upto 64 GB capacity], we have actually seen some pretty good traction over the past year, mostly in the side-by-side caching-type configurations, where space is at a premium within the platform. So the small form factor of the high-performance SSD module has a lot of advantages. Today, we are the only ones in mass production of that product even though we have taken great lengths to standardize it and had other top-tier semiconductor companies as part of that standardization effort [the new SATA µSSD™ specification]. So we do expect that with the addition of competition in that space, actually, it’ll grow the opportunity. And that should happen in 2012. And then I think there was a phase-change question.

Ritu Shrivastava

[Re: IBM] Yes, I hope you can hear me okay. So phase change technology is, like I think I mentioned in the last or Sanjay mentioned last time, is good for certain applications, certain niche applications. In our analysis, we don’t see how it will scale down that aggressively like our choice of technologies do. It requires much higher energy to change states because it’s a function of thermal energy requirement. And it needs to be multilevel cell, 2 bits or 3 bits per cell in order to compete with the kind of technologies that we need. So for certain applications, it may be good, where it will require high endurance, replacing, say, DRAM or replacing NOR kind of applications. But currently, we don’t see how it can replace cost-sensitive, high-density, high-performance kind of NAND applications.

Unknown Attendee

A few questions in — from the past and some from the future and a couple from the present and also to the future. In the past, go back 3 or 4 years, when we talked about X4, and what has happened with that since — has it gone to OTP or has it gone to the Memory Vault or is it just — wasn’t cost effective?

Sanjay Mehrotra

Okay. So let me take that. We do not produce X4 anymore. As we have mentioned, more than 50% of our production bits that we sell are in X3 memory. What’s happening is that the memory technology as we keep emphasizing is getting more and more complex. So to get 3 bits out of the memory cell and to be able to apply it in such broad array of products and deliver the performance and the reliability that it requires absolutely, again, really needs everything that we have in our system expertise. 4-bit-per-cell bit technology continuing to get more complex is much harder at this point to produce. And really, what will end up happening here is that it will be in very small number of applications. And then that technology will really not deliver the merit of this — capabilities. So we have decided not to pursue 4-bit-per-cell.

However, the learnings that we had from 4-bit-per-cell technology related to things like strongECC, which is what was developed at the time of the 4-bit-per-cell. Today, it is being used for all of our products with 3-bit-per-cell and even those kinds of techniques are being applied now to SSDs and going also to 2-bit-per-cell as the technology roadmap advances for that. So we really benefited a lot from our 4-bit-per-cell work. But it is not — 4-bit-per-cell NAND is not the technology of the future in terms of production.

Unknown Attendee

You’ve tried in different times to bring out content or content delivery. What happened with slotRadio and slotMusic? Is that still alive or was that another learning experience?

Shuki Nir

slotMusic and slotRadio has been, like you said, some of that we did in the content area, we don’t continue these products anymore. They are still being sold through some of our retail partners but we don’t see how we continue offering them in the future. However, we did take these security capabilities of using DRM for securing the content into some more interesting applications that we’ve had. One of them, we presented last year. It’s the Muve Music card that Cricket is offeringto their subscribers. So it’s based on the very same technology. And actually, it takes the content, that they bring into [indiscernible] this package and they sell to their customers a package of data, voice and content combined. So the technology is coming from us, the content is bought by them.

Sanjay Mehrotra

I just want to point out that things like X4 or slotMusic, slotRadio, these are innovation technologies and approaches that we absolutely need to be able to bring out to the market. Through these, we really learn. And as it goes with any innovation, that some of them may not become a big marketer [ph], but they lead to other opportunities. Just like I mentioned for X4, we learned ECC and we are applying it to others. Same with slotMusic, slot video, as Shuki mentioned, with Cricket, the Muve Music, growing — interesting opportunity with that customer. And I believe that it has given us a platform that in the future, we will be able to bring interesting content-related opportunities to the consumers, so stay tuned.

Related information:
Blurring lines between smartphones and feature phones: the Muve Music Phone case from Cricket Communications [Dec 2, 2011]

Toshiba develops, manufactures 19nm generation NAND Flash Memory with world’s largest density and smallest die size [Toshiba press release, Feb 23, 2012]

128 Gb capacity in a 3-bit-per-cell chip on a 170mm2 die

TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) today announced breakthroughs in NAND flash that secure major advances in chip density and performance. In the 19 nanometer (nm) generation, Toshiba has developed a 3-bit-per-cell 128 gigabit (Gb) chip with the world’s smallest[1] die size—170mm2—and fastest write speed[2]—18MB/s of any 3-bit-per-cell device. The chip entered mass production earlier this month and Toshiba and its technology partner, SanDisk, unveiled its key technology advances at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco, California on Feb 22 (local time).

Manufacturers of NAND flash memories must respond to demand for higher densities at competitive costs for such applications as USB memories and memory cards. Toshiba has achieved both through the application of its innovative technologies.

The new 3-bit-per-cell 19nm generation device uses the three-step programming algorithm and air-gap technology[3] for transistors, effectively reducing coupling between memory cells down to 5%[4], achieving a write speed performance of 18MB/s. In three-step writing technology, it writes through rough distribution in the second step, and tightens as well-defined distribution at the third.

Toshiba has also optimized the peripheral circuit structure of the chip, securing a 20% reduction in area from current chips[5], an achievement that significantly contributed to the 170mm2 die size, the smallest yet achieved at this density.

Toshiba and SanDisk have maintained their continuing leadership in the development and manufacture of advanced NAND flash memory. Toshiba will promote further development in leading-edge process technologies to further widen the scope of application and to expand the NAND flash memory market.

[1] As of February, 2012
[2] As of February, 2012
[3] Air gap is a technology that creates gap between the cells and reduce coupling between the cells
[4] A comparison between 19nm process, 3-bit-per-cell product, without using the developed three-step technology
[5] A comparison between 19nm process, 3-bit-per-cell product, with conventional circuit technology

SANDISK DEVELOPS WORLD’S SMALLEST 128Gb NAND FLASH MEMORY CHIP [SanDisk press release, Feb 22, 2012]

  • Highest-capacity single die NAND flash memory chip extends leadership in three-bit per cell technology
  • Paper outlining achievement to be delivered at technical conference

SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced it has developed the world’s smallest 128 gigabit (Gb)* NAND flash memory chip currently in production. The semiconductor device can store 128 billion individual bits of information on a single silicon die 170mm2in size – a little more than a quarter of an inch squared, or smaller than the area covered by a U.S. penny.

The use of NAND flash memory in high tech equipment like smartphones, tablets and solid state drives (SSDs) allows advances in the full function, small form factor devices that are highly valued by consumers. Shrinking the size of NAND flash memory allows smaller, more powerful computing, communications and consumer electronics devices to be built while keeping costs low.

SanDisk built the 128Gb NAND flash memory chip on the company’s industry-leading 19 nanometer (nm) process technology. A nanometer measures one-billionth of a meter, meaning that 19nm circuit lines are so small that about 3,000 of them could fit across the width of a human hair. The chip also employs SanDisk’s three-bit per cell (X3) technologythat allows the company to build NAND flash memory products with the ability to read and write three bits of information in each memory cell.

At 19nm, SanDisk is deploying its ninth generation of multi-level cell (MLC) NAND products and fifth generation of X3 technology. This combination of manufacturing and technical expertise helps SanDisk pack more information into each memory cell making it possible to create a smaller, denser NAND flash memory chip.

“Building a 128Gb NAND flash memory chip with this level of complexity is an incredible achievement,” said Mehrdad Mofidi, vice president, Memory Design. “This innovation allows SanDisk to continue to be a leader in helping our customers deliver smaller, more powerful products capable of doing more at lower cost.”

In addition to reduced size, the 128Gb semiconductor device has an industry-leading X3 write performance of 18 megabytes (MB)** per second. This level of performance is achieved using SanDisk’s patented advanced all bit line (ABL) architectureand means that X3 technology could be extended to certain product categories that use MLC NAND flash memory. A technical paper outlining the breakthrough will be presented at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco today.

The 128Gb NAND flash memory chip was developed jointly by teams from SanDisk and Toshiba at SanDisk’s Milpitas campus. The effort was led by Yan Li, director of Memory Design at SanDisk. Products based on the 128Gb three-bit per cell technology began shipping late last year and have already started to ramp into high volume production. SanDisk has also developed a derivative product based on the success of the 128Gb chip – a 64Gb, X3 NAND flash memory chip that is compatible with the industry-standard microSD™ format. The company has also started to ramp production of this additional chip technology.

NAND flash memory is the technology behind the high reliability, small form factor storage solutions that SanDisk sells to OEM customers for use in a wide variety of products such as smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks. It is also the technology used in products SanDisk sells through its retail channel in the form of imaging and mobile cards, USB drives and mp3 players.

About SanDisk
SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) is a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, from research and development, product design and manufacturing to branding and distribution for OEM and retail channels. Since 1988, SanDisk’s innovations in flash memory and storage system technologies have provided customers with new and transformational digital experiences. SanDisk’s diverse product portfolio includes flash memory cards and embedded solutions used in smart phones, tablets, digital cameras, camcorders, digital media players and other consumer electronic devices, as well as USB flash drives and solid-state drives (SSD) for the computing market. SanDisk’s products are used by consumers and enterprise customers around the world.

SanDisk is a Silicon Valley-based S&P 500 and Fortune 500 company, with more than half its sales outside the United States. For more information, visit www.sandisk.com

128Gb 3-Bit Per Cell NAND Flash Memory on 19nm Technology with 18MB/s Write Rate and 400Mbps Toggle Mode [paper submitted to ISSCC 2012 by SanDisk and Toshiba authors, Feb 21, 2012]

Abstract
A 128Gb 8-level NAND flash memory using 19nm CMOS technology has been developed. 128Gb is the largest single-chip capacity NAND memory. At 170mm2 die size, this development achieves the highest Gb/mm2 in NAND flash memory. In addition to All Bit-Line (ABL) programming and sensing, Air Gap technology and a Toggle Mode 400Mbps I/O interface, along with improvements in sensing accuracy, enable this 3-bit per cell (X3) design to achieve a write throughput of 18MB/s using standard BCH ECC.

Since the first 3-bit per cell (X3) NAND flash memory paper in ISSCC 2008 [1], market demand for applications using high density, low cost flash memory, such as tablets, smart phones, and Solid State Drives, has increased rapidly. Various electronic devices already use X3 NAND. The use of All Bit-Line (ABL) architecture, advanced circuitry, and enhanced algorithms enables this work to achieve 18MB/s performance, allowing penetration of markets where 2-bit per cell (D2) NAND has been used. As
NAND memory scales aggressively towards 10nm, achieving the same level of performance with X3 chips is increasingly difficult. This paper addresses challenges faced and improvements made over previous NAND generations to achieve high performance while maintaining a low Fail Bit Count, as well as cost savings derived from an improved architecture and tightly packed peripheral circuits. Leveraging Air Gap [2,3] technology further improves write throughput by reducing neighbor interference and
word-line (WL) RC. A Toggle Mode 400Mbps I/O interface implemented to reduce system overhead and enhances overall product performance.

[1] Li, Y. et al; “A 16Gb 3b/Cell NAND Flash Memory in 56nm with 8MB/s Write Rate.” ISSCC Dig. Tech Papers, pp.506-507, Feb., 2008.

PANASONIC, SAMSUNG, SANDISK, SONY AND TOSHIBA JOIN FORCES TO COLLABORATE ON NEXT GENERATION SECURE MEMORY SOLUTION [… press release, Dec 20, 2011]

Five Companies plan to jointly form ‘Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative’

Panasonic Corporation, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., SanDisk Corporation, Sony Corporation and Toshiba Corporation today announced that they have reached an agreement in principle to collaborate on a new content protection technology for flash memory cards such as SD Cards and various storage devices. Under the “Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative,” *1the five companies will start preparing for licensing and promotion of HD (high-definition)-capable security for SD Cards and embedded memory for use in advanced consumer applications such as tablets and smartphones.

This content protection solution will be robust enough to protect HD content. A high level of content security will be realized through the use of the initiative’s technologies, including unique ID (identification) technology for flash memory and robust copy protection based on public key infrastructure.

The five companies believe this technology will enable various HD content applications such as HD network download, broadcast content to go and HD Digital Copy/Managed Copy from Blu-ray DiscTM*2 media. With these applications, users can enjoy HD content on a wide range of devices, including AndroidTM*3-based smartphones and tablets, TVs and Blu-rayTM*4products.

The five companies believe that they each can make substantial contributions that, when combined, will enable them to start licensing the new secure memory technology early next year. The five companies expect to see adoption of flash memory products and various embedded flash memory solutions using this technology in the market in 2012.

“Panasonic has always been an innovator in providing the best possible content viewing experience in the living room through development of Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3DTMtechnologies and products,” said Yoshiyuki Miyabe, Corporate CTO, Panasonic Corporation. “With our new secure memory solution, we are excited to create a strong link between the living room experience and the mobile experience. Now consumers can enjoy watching premier content, such as movies, on the go with their smartphones and tablets.”

“Samsung believes that the time is ripe for an advanced security solution and welcomes the opportunity to deliver a highly viable solution using flash memory chips. Samsung’s ongoing commitment to technology excellence will now further extend to early market availability of high-performance NAND technologies implementing the new advanced security solution,” said Young-Hyun Jun, Executive Vice President, Memory Business, Samsung Electronics. Co., Ltd.

“Consumers are ready for a solution that enables the effortless consumption of online and offline content across multiple device platforms,” said Sumit Sadana, Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer for SanDisk. “SanDisk looks forward to building on its history of innovation in the Flash industry by delivering optimized memory solutions to enable this new usage model with robust security technologies that can protect premium content.”

“We believe the secure solution created by this initiative will enable customers to enjoy high quality experiences anytime, anywhere. Sony has always been focused on bringing amazing experiences to people through highly-advanced technologies in content creation, content distribution and picture display,” said Hiroshi Yoshioka, Corporate Executive Officer and Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation.

“This technology will open a new door to flash memory applications. As a flash memory manufacturer, we are pleased that our flash memory technology will contribute to bringing people more convenient and exciting experiences of HD content. We will continue our development efforts to create surprising innovation,” said Yasuo Naruke, Corporate Vice President, Vice President, Memory Division, Semiconductor & Storage Products Company, Toshiba Corporation.

About ‘Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative’

‘Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative’ (a tentative name) is a collaboration of Panasonic, Samsung, SanDisk, Sony and Toshiba to license and promote HD (high-definition)-capable security for SD Cards and embedded memory for use in advanced consumer applications such as tablets and smartphones. For the details, please visit http://nextgenerationsecurememory.com/

*1 “Next Generation Secure Memory Initiative” is the tentative name, it will be decided later.
*2 “Blu-ray Disc”, “Blu-ray” and “Blu-ray 3D” are trademarks of Blu-ray Disc Association
*3 “Android” is a trademark of Google Inc.
*4 “Blu-ray Disc”, “Blu-ray” and “Blu-ray 3D” are trademarks of Blu-ray Disc Association

Toshiba and SanDisk Celebrate the Opening of Fab 5 300mm NAND Flash Memory Fabrication Facility in Japan [Toshiba press release, July 12, 2011]

Fab 5 at Toshiba Yokkaichi OperationsToshiba Yokkaichi Operations, Fab 5 at top

The clean room at Toshiba Yokkaichi Operations Fab 5The clean room at Toshiba Yokkaichi Operations Fab 5

Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan, July 12, 2011 — Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) today celebrated the opening of Fab 5, the third 300mm wafer NAND fabrication facility at Toshiba’s Yokkaichi Operations in Mie Prefecture, Japan.

Consumer demand for smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices continues to fuel strong global demand for NAND flash memory. Toshiba began the construction of Fab 5 in July 2010, and the new facility, equipped with manufacturing equipment funded by Toshiba and SanDisk, started volume production in July 2011. Fab 5 currently uses 24 nanometer (nm)* process technology and its first wafer outs will be in August. In time, the fab will transition to more advanced process generations, starting with recently announced 19nm technology, the world’s smallest, most advanced process node.

Fab 5 incorporates advanced earthquake-absorbing structures and integrates multiple power compensation techniques for protection against unexpected disruptions. LED lighting and power-saving manufacturing equipment will support the fab in securing Toshiba’s goal of 12 percent less CO2emissions than Fab 4. A wafer transportation system links the facility with Fabs 3 and 4 to support efficient manufacturing.

Flash Forward, Ltd., a joint venture between Toshiba and SanDisk established in September 2010(50.1 percent owned by Toshiba and 49.9 percent by SanDisk), funded the advanced manufacturing equipment within the fab.

* Note: 1 nanometer = one billionth of a meter

Outline of Fab 5 at Yokkaichi Operations

Structure of building: 2-Story steel frame concrete, five floors
Building area: Approximately 38,000m2
Floor area: Approximately 187,000m2
Start of construction: July 2010
Building completion: March 2011
Start of volume production: July 2011

Outline of Toshiba’s Yokkaichi Operations

Location: 800 Yamanoisshiki-cho, Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture
Established: January 1992
General Manager: Koji Sato
Employees: Approximately 4,400
(as of end of March 2011, regular employees only for Toshiba)
Total site area: Approximately 436,800m2
Total floor area: Approximately 647,000m2

Outline of Flash Forward, Ltd.

Location: 800 Yamanoisshiki-cho, Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture
Established: September 2010
President and CEO: Hideyuki Kobayashi
Holding: Toshiba: 50.1%, SanDisk: 49.9%

SanDisk’s operations in Yokkaichi include more than 300 employees under the leadership of SanDisk Japan President and General Manager, Dr. Atsuyoshi Koike.

About Toshiba

Toshiba is a world leader and innovator in pioneering high technology, a diversified manufacturer and marketer of advanced electronic and electrical products spanning digital consumer products; electronic devices and components; power systems, including nuclear energy; industrial and social infrastructure systems; and home appliances. Toshiba was founded in 1875, and today operates a global network of more than 490 companies, with 203,000 employees worldwide and annual sales surpassing 6.3 trillion yen (US$77 billion). Visit Toshiba’s web site at www.toshiba.co.jp/index.htm.

About SanDisk

SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) is a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, from research and development, product design and manufacturing to branding and distribution for OEM and retail channels. Since 1988, SanDisk’s innovations in flash memory and storage system technologies have provided customers with new and transformational digital experiences. SanDisk’s diverse product portfolio includes flash memory cards and embedded solutions used in smart phones, tablets, digital cameras, camcorders, digital media players and other consumer electronic devices, as well as USB flash drives and solid-state drives (SSD) for the computing market. SanDisk’s products are used by consumers and enterprise customers around the world.

SanDisk is a Silicon Valley-based S&P 500 and Fortune 500 company, with more than half its sales outside the United States. For more information, visit www.sandisk.com.

Toshiba launches 19nm process NAND flash memory [Toshiba press release, April 21 2011]

The world’s finest process yields single chips with a 64 gigabit capacity

TOKYO — Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502), reinforcing its leadership in the development and fabrication of cutting-edge, high density NAND flash memories, today announced that it has fabricated NAND flash memories with 19nm*1 process technology, the finest level yet achieved. This latest technology advance has already been applied to 2-bit-per-cell 64-gigabit (Gb) chips that are the world’s smallest and offer the highest density on a single chip (8 gigabytes (GB))*2. Toshiba will also add 3-bit-per-cell products fabricated with the 19nm process technologyto its product line-up.

Samples of 2-bit-per-cell 64-gigabit will be available from the end of this month with mass production scheduled for the third quarterof the year (July to September 2011).

Toshiba leads the industry in fabricating high density, small die size NAND flash memory chips. Application of the 19nm generation process technology will further shrink chip size, allowing Toshiba to assemble sixteen 64Gbit NAND flash memory chips in one package and to deliver 128GB devicesfor application in smartphones and tablet PCs. The 19nm process products are also equipped with Toggle DDR2.0, which enhances data transfer speed.

As the market for mobile equipment, such as smartphones, tablet PCs, and SSDs (solid state drives) expands, demand for smaller, higher density memory products grows. By accelerating process migration in NAND flash memory, Toshiba aims to reinforce and extend its leadership in the NAND flash memory market.

Note:

*1 nm = nanometer (1 billionth of a meter)
*2 Source: Toshiba Corporation, April 2011

SANDISK IMPLEMENTS NEW SATA µSSD™ SPECIFICATION FOR EMBEDDED SOLID STATE DRIVES [SanDisk press release, Aug 9, 2011]

  • Connector-free, high-capacity, embedded SSDs enable new generation of tablets and ultrathin notebooks
  • SanDisk® iSSD™ integrated solid state device series featuring the new SATA µSSD specification is available for sampling now

SanDisk iSSDFLASH MEMORY SUMMIT, SANTA CLARA, Calif., August 9, 2011-SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today announced that it has implemented the new SATA µSSD™ specification into its SanDisk iSSDproduct line of postage stamp-sized embedded SSDs. SATA-IO, an industry consortium dedicated to sustaining the quality, integrity and dissemination of serial ATA (SATA™) technology, introduced the standard today.

The number of media tablets shipped worldwide is expected to grow from 17.8 million units in 2010 to 53.5 million units in 2011. The five-year CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) is 48.5 percent, according to the IDC 1Q11 Media Tablet and eReader Tracker Forecast. These thin, high-performance mobile computing platforms combine sophisticated components in a small physical area, compounding design complexity and driving the need for industry standards.

Embedded SSDs offer fast performance in a tiny footprint, making them an attractive solution for all categories of ultrathin devices. The SATA µSSD specification eliminates the module connector from the traditional SATA interface, enabling developers to produce a single-chip SATA implementation for embedded storage applications. Among the first products to implement the new standard, the SanDisk iSSD seriesis an ideal storage solution for OEMs developing the next generation of thin, powerful mobile computing platforms.

“To widely adopt a new component technology, manufacturers need to have confidence in its performance, longevity and cost-effectiveness,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager, solid state storage technology, IDC. “Today’s announcement of an industry-wide standardization for embedded SSDs, combined with OEM requirements for size and performance gains in storage, should help propel the market for these tiny, versatile drives.”

Connector-free embedded SSDs allow OEMs to develop a new generation of thin yet powerful tablets and ultrathin notebooks,” said Kevin Conley, senior vice president, client storage solutions, SanDisk. “Initiatives such as the µSSD specification promote the development of new standards for storage solutions that help manufacturers continually refine their end consumer product and drive new industry sectors.”

The SATA µSSD standard-conforming SanDisk iSSD series utilizes a new electrical pin-out that allows SATA delivery using a single ball grid array (BGA) package. The BGA package sits directly on the motherboard, allowing for form factors as small as 16mm x 20mm x 1.2mm (up to 32GB)/1.4mm (for 64GB) and 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm (for 128GB). The SanDisk iSSD i100 SSD is available in 8 gigabyte (GB)1 to 128GB capacities, offering OEMs a flexible range of storage options.

“The market for tablets and ultrathin computing devices continues to grow along with the need for small form factor storage solutions,” said Mladen Luksic, president, SATA-IO. “We are excited to have industry-wide support for the µSSD specification and look forward to seeing many µSSD-based products available in the near future.”

SanDisk Solid State Drives
Supported by vertical integration and more than 20 years of flash memory innovation, SanDisk SSDs empower global manufacturers to satisfy the growing consumer demand for powerful mobile computing platforms such as tablets and notebooks. SanDisk offers a full range of client PC SSD products, including the U100 SSD for cost-effective performance and customizable form factors, the SanDisk iSSD for OEMs who need an embedded µSSD SATA form factor, and a consumer offering that includes the SanDisk Ultra® SSD, which serves as a drop-in replacement for hard disk drives.

SANDISK LAUNCHES TWO NEW SOLID STATE DRIVES (SSD) FOR TABLETS AND ULTRA-THIN NOTEBOOKS [SanDisk press release, May 31, 2011]

  • New SSDs combine fast SATA III performance with power consumption as low as 10mW1-enable feature-rich computing platforms with longer battery life
  • SanDisk® SSD series’ U100 drive for ultra-thin notebooks offers SATA III performance and customized form factors
  • SanDisk® iSSD™ integrated storage device series’ i100 drive is the world’s smallest, fastest 128 gigabyte (GB)2 (SATA III) BGA-based SSD-ideal for slim, high-performance tablets and ultra-thin notebooks
  • Sampling now with volume production scheduled for Q3 2011

Computex, Taiwan, May 31, 2011- SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today introduced two new solid state drives (SSDs) for the mobile computing market. The U100 drive, successor to the popular SanDisk® P4 modular SSD series, delivers a flexible, cost-effective solution for ultra-thin notebooks. The SanDisk® iSSD™ integrated storage device series’ i100 drive is the world’s smallest, fastest 128 gigabyte (GB)2(SATA III) BGA (ball grid array) SSD and an ideal storage solution for slim, powerful tablets and ultra-thin notebooks.

The new SSDs utilize the high-performance SATA III interface to improve application loading times, web-browsing speeds, multimedia synchronization, file-transfer rates and overall system responsiveness. The drives employ a low-power architecture that reduces power consumption to as low as 10mW1. This combination of high performance and low power allows OEMs to develop feature-rich products with longer battery life.

“Our deep involvement with key ecosystem stakeholders allows us to align our products with fast-moving market requirements,” said Rizwan Ahmed, director, SSD product marketing, SanDisk. “We develop low-power, high-performance SATA SSDs that optimally fit into a growing number of thin client devices.”

SanDisk® SSD Series’ U100 Drive for Ultra-Thin Notebooks
The U100 drive builds upon the successful SanDisk P4 modular SSD series, which enjoyed widespread adoption among ultra-thin notebooks and other mobile computing platforms. U100 supports an array of design needs and is available in a variety of form factors, including Half-Slim SATA SSD, mSATA, mSATA mini, 2.5″ cased, as well as customized modules.

The U100 drive delivers fast SATA III performance with up to 450 megabyte per second (MB/sec)3 sequential read and up to 340MB/sec sequential write speeds3. The drive’s low-power architecture allows OEMs to extend their products’ battery life while maintaining high performance. The drive is available in 8GB to 256GB capacities, and OEMs, attracted to the outstanding price/performance value proposition, are already successfully integrating the new SSD into their next-generation platforms.

SanDisk® iSSD™ for Tablets
The i100 drive is the smallest, fastest 128GB (SATA III) BGA-based SSD on the market and the newest product in the SanDisk iSSD integrated storage device series. The drive is available in 8GB to 128GB capacities, offering OEMs a flexible range of storage options. Measuring only 16mm x 20mm x 1.4mm (for up to 64GB) and 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm (for 128GB), the drive allows OEMs to design sleek, high-performance tablets and ultra-thin notebooks.

The drive’s SATA performance achieves up to 450MB/sec3 sequential read and up to 160MB/sec sequential write speeds3. The i100 drive can improve sideloading rates, multitasking capabilities, real-time gaming experience and multimedia synchronization-all while extending battery life via its low-power architecture.

Features i100 iSSD U100 SSD
Performance3 • Up to 450MB/sec sequential read
• Up to 160MB/sec sequential write
• Up to 450MB/sec sequential read
• Up to 340MB/sec sequential write
Capacity2 • 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB • 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Form Factor • Ball Grid Array (BGA) in 16mm x 20mm x 1.4mm (for up to 64GB)
• 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm (for up to 128GB)
• Half-Slim SATA SSD, mSATA, mSATA mini
• 2.5″ cased
• Customized FF
Interface • SATA-III 6Gbps • SATA-III 6Gbps
Power Consumption1 • Low-Power Architecture
• Slumber power mode ~10mW
• Low-Power Architecture
• Slumber power mode ~10mW
Target Platforms • Tablets and Ultra-Thin Notebooks • Ultra-Thin Notebooks

New SSDs Offer Additional Benefits

  • Drives support Power Classes for flexible performance and power-budget control capabilities
  • nCache™ Acceleration Technology provides fast random burst write performance for improved system responsiveness and multitasking functionality
  • Based on a JEDEC-standard package for industry compliance

The i100 and U100 drives are sampling now with volume production scheduled for Q3 2011.

SANDISK RAISES PERFORMANCE BAR WITH INAND EXTREME™ EMBEDDED STORAGE FOR TABLETS AND MOBILE DEVICES [SanDisk press release, May 31, 2011]

Improves Multimedia Synchronization, File-Transfer Speeds and Operating System Responsiveness

  • New device broadens SanDisk’s segmented embedded storage lineup, which includes iNAND™ and iNAND Ultra® devices
  • Features up to 50MB/sec sequential write and up to 80MB/sec sequential read speeds

Computex, Taiwan, May 31, 2011- SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a global leader in flash memory storage solutions, today introduced the iNAND™ Extreme® embedded flash drive (EFD), SanDisk’s first in a new line of products designed for high-end tablets running advanced operating systems and data-intensive applications. The drive features up to 50 megabyte per second (MB/sec)1sequential write and up to 80MB/sec sequential read speeds.

High-performance embedded flash storage can significantly improve a tablet’s multimedia synchronization speeds, file-transfer rates and operating system responsiveness. Fast sequential performance is essential when capturing HD2 and 3D2 video content or when transferring large files via the high-speed USB 3.0 interface. By selecting the iNAND Extreme EFD for their next-generation tablet designs, OEMs can improve the key performance criteria that produce an enjoyable user experience.

“iNAND Extreme broadens our embedded product line to cover the needs of all mobile market segments, from feature phones to high-end tablets,” said Amir Lehr, vice president, embedded business, SanDisk. “We offer OEMs high-quality products as well as the experience and technical know-how needed to optimize our solutions for specific applications and usage scenarios.”

SanDisk engineers work closely with mobile and tablet manufacturers to ensure they integrate iNAND™ products for optimal performance and efficiency in new hardware designs. SanDisk developed its e.MMC based iNAND Extreme EFDs through industry-leading mobile usage analysis capabilities and the experience accumulated through many successful mobile and consumer electronic designs. Already a dominant choice for embedded smartphone storage, the e.MMC interface has quickly established itself as an attractive solution for the tablet market.

“The embedded application market is experiencing significant growth through the increasing popularity and variety of mobile computing platforms,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager, solid state storage technology, IDC. “Companies with broad embedded product lineups and value-added services have an increasing capability to meet the diverse needs within the mobile market.”

Available in a highly compact 12mm x 16mm JEDEC package with heights as low as 1.0mm, the iNAND Extreme EFD enables slim and highly portable mobile and tablet designs. By conserving internal space, the drive allows more room for other components such as larger batteries-particularly important in high-end tablets with demanding energy needs or larger screens.

The iNAND Extreme EFD comes in 16 gigabyte (GB)3 to 64GB capacities and is scheduled for sampling in Q3 2011. The new drive expands SanDisk’s segmented embedded storage lineup, which includes iNAND and iNAND Ultra drives for handsets and tablets.

SanDisk iNAND and iNAND Ultra EFDs
The iNAND EFD is available in storage capacities ranging from 2GB to 64GB for quick integration into handsets and other designs that require an e.MMC interface. The drive features up to 30MB/sec read and up to 13MB/sec write speeds and can serve as a reliable boot device and mass storage solution. The iNAND Ultra EFD offers up to 40MB/sec read and 20MB/sec write speeds that increase the system responsiveness of feature-rich smartphones that need fast, high-capacity storage in a small form factor.

All iNAND EFDs utilize a highly advanced caching technology that increases system responsiveness for faster application loading, web-browsing and multitasking. SanDisk works closely with all major mobile OEMs, chipset and operating system vendors to ensure tight integration between host and storage devices. This engagement is crucial to achieving a more enjoyable user experience and is a key reason why iNAND ranks among the leading e.MMC devices on the market.

SANDISK iNAND EMBEDDED FLASH DRIVES ENABLE CONTINUED DEVELOPMENT OF POWERFUL, THIN AND HIGHLY MOBILE DEVICES [SanDisk press release, Feb 14, 2011]

  • SanDisk iNAND and iNAND Ultra e.MMC devices to offer up to 64GBof storage capacity in a compact 12mm x 16mm package
  • Introducing thinner packages, as low as 1.0mm, for slimmer mobile designs-the same thickness of approximately 10 sheets of paper

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, February 14, 2011- SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), the global leader in flash memory cards, today announced its next generation of iNAND™ and iNAND Ultra™ embedded flash drives (EFDs) featuring smaller and thinner form factors. Available in packages as small as 11.5mm x 13mm x 1mm, SanDisk’s new iNAND and iNAND Ultra e.MMC products support the increasing demand for slimmer and more compact smartphone and tablet designs. Mobile World Congress attendees can visit SanDisk at Hall P8, Stand 8B91.

SanDisk reduced its iNAND package sizes by using advanced 24nm generation NAND memory chips, which are more compact than previous versions, and reduced its iNAND package heights by using advanced packaging technologies. iNAND EFDs are based on SanDisk’s three-bit-per-cell (X3) NAND flash technology and iNAND Ultra EFDs are based on SanDisk’s two-bit-per-cell (MLC) NAND flash technology.

“For smartphones and tablets, every millimeter of thickness counts,” said Amir Lehr, vice president, embedded business, SanDisk. “Designers are constantly looking for new ways to make mobile devices as small and thin as possible. To meet that need, SanDisk’s advanced NAND process and packaging technologies allow us to pack more storage into smaller and slimmer footprints. This in turn enables OEMs to design more compact devices while freeing up precious board space for other needs, such as larger batteries.”

Mobile Devices Require High-Capacity Storage In Small Packages
As smartphones continue to increase in computing power and offer advanced features, they require greater amounts of storage; at the same time, consumer demand for smaller and slimmer devices presents a significant challenge to hardware designers. To meet this need, SanDisk reduced the package size of its iNAND and iNAND Ultra e.MMC embedded storage devices, enabling handset manufacturers to develop sleek, highly functional products.

  • SanDisk iNAND and iNAND Ultra EFDs offer up to 64 gigabytes (GB)1of storage in a 12mm x 16mm JEDEC standard package
  • Package heights reduced to as low as 1.0mm for even slimmer handset designs. 32GB versions of both iNAND and iNAND Ultra products offered in 1.2mm package heights; for comparison, ten sheets of 20-pound office paper is approximately 1.0mm thick
  • SanDisk iNAND products with capacities up to 8GB available in 11.5mm x 13mm sizes
  • The new products will be available beginning in the third quarter of 2011

SanDisk iSSD for SATA Devices
SanDisk also offers embedded solid state drives for use in “productivity tablets” with high performance requirements. SanDisk’s integrated solid state drive (iSSD) is the world’s smallest 64GB SSD in a BGA (Ball Grid Array) package and first in a new category of embedded SSDs that are smaller than a postage stamp and weigh less than a paper clip. iSSD devices are available in capacities ranging from 4GB to 64GB with a SATA interface. The iSSD device is the fastest high-capacity embedded storage solution at this physical size, and is designed for high performance and reliability for mobile computing platforms including high-end tablets. iSSD devices are based on MLC technology.

About SanDisk iNAND
SanDisk iNAND EFDs come in a variety of storage capacities ranging from 2GB to 64GB for quick integration into handset and other designs that require an e.MMC interface. With managed physical partitions, customizable attributes and advanced power failure immunity, SanDisk iNAND EFDs feature highly reliable boot code and application storage device capabilities in addition to being a mass storage solution. iNAND drives use advanced caching technology that improves system responsiveness, and are designed based on SanDisk’s usage analysis capabilities. iNAND EFDs are based on both MLC and X3 technologies.

SANDISK INTRODUCES WORLD’S SMALLEST 64GB SOLID STATE DRIVE – FIRST IN NEW EMBEDDED SSD CATEGORY [SanDisk press release, Aug 18, 2010]

Category Serves Fast-Growing Market for Ultra-Thin Tablets and Mobile Computers

  • SanDisk® integrated SSD (iSSD) is smaller than a postage stamp and weighs less than a paper clip
  • Fastest high capacity embedded storage solution at this physical size- designed for high performance and reliability for mobile computing platforms
  • Broad range of capacities available to OEM customers-4GB to 64GB
  • Market research firm IDC establishes “Embedded SSD” category for highly portable consumer electronics devices

iSSD PressRelease Image Flash Memory Summit, Santa Clara, Calif., August 18, 2010-SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), the global leader in flash memory cards, today announced the first product in a new category of embedded solid state drives (SSD) that are smaller than a postage stamp and offer higher capacities and performance than existing storage solutions. The SanDisk® integrated SSD (iSSD), the first high-capacity product within this new category, is designed for use in fast-growing mobile computing platforms such as tablet PCs and ultra-thin notebooks.

Computing platforms are responding to consumer demand for highly portable, ultra-thin, anywhere-anytime access to the Internet and their favorite content. The SanDisk iSSD drive is the first flash SSD device to support the industry standard SATA interface in a small BGA (Ball Grid Array) package that can be soldered onto any motherboard, and that is fast enough for use with advanced operating systems in next-generation mobile computing platforms.

“The new category of embedded SSDs should enable OEMs to produce tablets and notebooks with an unprecedented combination of thin, lightweight form factors and fast performance,” said Doron Myersdorf, senior director, SSD marketing, SanDisk.

“With our embedded flash storage leadership, SanDisk believes it is uniquely positioned to deliver the ultra compact SSD solutions needed by OEMs.”

“The ultra-thin tablet and mobile computer markets are expected to experience tremendous growth over the coming years, and new advanced platforms will introduce new requirements for storage solutions,” said Jeff Janukowicz, research manager, solid state drives, IDC. “New embedded SSDs such as the SanDisk iSSD drive, which meet the stringent size requirements of small and light devices while offering greater performance, are designed to enable OEMs to deliver an enhanced user experience in their next-generation designs.”

The SanDisk iSSD offers 160MB/sec sequential read and 100MB/sec sequential writespeeds for greater system responsiveness*. With no moving parts, the tiny, robust drive is designed to deliver the durability needed by portable devices that are frequently dropped or jostled. SanDisk iSSD offers a substantial level of design flexibility for OEMs who seek to create the next generation of tablets and ultra thin mobile devices based on the standard SATA interface.

The SanDisk iSSD is available now for sampling to OEMs, and is being evaluated by top-tier manufacturers. Measuring 16mm x 20mm x 1.85mm and weighing less than one gram, the drive uses a BGA form factor and a SATA interface, and is compatible with all leading operating systems. SanDisk iSSD is available in capacities ranging from 4 gigabytes (GB)1 to 64GB, with pricing dependent upon the quantity ordered.

Toshiba Starts Construction of Fab 5 for NAND Flash Memory at Yokkaichi
Toshiba and SanDisk Sign Joint Venture Agreement
[Toshiba press release, July 14, 2010]

Image of Bird's eye view of Yokkaichi Operations, artist's impression of Fab 5 at right Image of Artsit's impression of Fab 5, Yokkaichi Operations

Yokkaichi, Mie, Japan, July 14, 2010 — Toshiba Corporation (Tokyo: 6502) today announced that it has started construction of a state-of-the-art fabrication facility (fab), Fab 5, at Yokkaichi Operations, its memory production facility in Mie Prefecture, with construction work scheduled for completion in Spring 2011. Toshiba and SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), a Milpitas, California based company, today announced that they have signed primary agreements for a new joint venture to operate in the Fab 5 facility.

Construction of the new fab reflects expectations for increasing demand for NAND flash memory for existing and emerging applications, such as smartphones and solid-state drives. Adding new production capacity will ensure that Toshiba and SanDisk are able to respond quickly and decisively to market expansion and further strengthen their competitiveness.

The fab building will be constructed in two phases, with the pace of investment reflecting market trends. On completion of its second phase, Fab 5 will be comparable to Fab 4, with a ground area of some 38,000m2. The partners have flexibility as to the extent and timing of their respective fab capacity ramps, and the output allocation will be in accordance with the proportionate level of equipment funding. The initial manufacturing process will be the leading-edge 20-nanometer generation, with subsequent generations to follow.

Mr. Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Corporate Senior Vice President of Toshiba Corporation, President and CEO of Semiconductor Company said, “Constructing the new facility assures our ability to respond to continued strong demand in the NAND flash memory market. With our partner SanDisk, we will increase the manufacturing capacity gradually in accordance with market conditions, in a way that further enhances our competitiveness in the memory business.”

Dr. Eli Harari, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SanDisk said, “Today’s agreement builds on a successful ten-year partnership with Toshiba that has led to the development of eight generations of industry-leading multi-level cell NAND flash memory. Customer demand for flash memory continues to grow rapidly, and our investment in Fab 5 will provide us highly cost effective supply, while giving us the flexibility to tailor the rate of capacity expansion to match our demand requirements. Fab 5 represents a strategic commitment to further strengthen our leadership in the fast growing flash markets over the coming decade.”

Fab 5 will have a quake-absorbing structure and is designed to impose minimal environmental impacts. Extensive use of LED lighting throughout the facility, leading edge energy-saving manufacturing equipment, and use of inverter-controlled pumps for semiconductor production equipment are expected to cut CO2emissions to a level 12% lower than for Fab 4.

Yokkaichi Operations currently has four NAND flash memory fabs. Toshiba and SanDisk are currently ramping into the unused clean room space in Fab 4, and expect to reach full capacity of Fab 4 by the start of production in Fab 5.

Toshiba and SanDisk will each, through joint ventures, including Fab 5, make timely investments in NAND Flash memory, and will continue to jointly develop new technologies in order to enhance their competitiveness in the memory business.

SANDISK DOUBLES STORAGE CAPACITY FOR MOBILE PHONES AND PORTABLE DEVICES WITH INTRODUCTION OF 64GB iNAND EMBEDDED FLASH DRIVES [SanDisk press release, Feb 15, 2010]

  • Support for e.MMC 4.4 Interface Now Available
  • INAND EFDs Perform Boot, System Code and Mass Storage Functions With Single Device
  • SanDisk’s Advanced 32nm 3-bit-per-cell (X3) NAND Flash Technology Reduces Complexity of High Capacity Embedded Solutions

iNAND_64GBMOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, HALL 8, Booth 8B91, Barcelona, February 15, 2010 – SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), the global leader in flash memory cards, today introduced the new SanDisk® iNAND™ Embedded Flash Drives (EFD) with support for the e.MMC 4.4 specification. Based on 3-bit-per-cell (X3) NAND flash technology, the drives offer up to 64 gigabytes(GB)1 of capacity in a single device, and can be used for boot, system code and mass storage functions.

An increasing number of mobile phones offer a wide array of applications and storage-intensive content such as movie and music playback, imaging capabilities, gaming, GPS map data, business applications and more. SanDisk iNAND EFDs are specifically designed for these advanced smartphones and provide high capacity and reliable storage in a power-efficient package with a small footprint.

SanDisk’s X3 Technology Enables High Capacity Embedded Storage

SanDisk’s advanced X3 technology enables the development of high capacity embedded solutions that are robust and power-efficient with minimal package complexity. The successful development and wide distribution of many X3-based products through OEM and retail channels in recent years demonstrates both the technology’s maturity and SanDisk’s ability to bring to market reliable yet innovative solutions.

SanDisk’s memory management expertise and X3 controller technology allow for the continued cost-effective growth of mobile storage solutions. 64GB iNAND EFDs meet the reliability and performance requirements of OEMs for mobile system grade storage. The new 64GB iNAND EFD is based on an eight flash die stack design using SanDisk’s advanced X3 32nm flash, and is offered in a 16x20x1.4mm form factor with a standard ball grid array (BGA) for quick integration into smartphone designs.

“The maturity of SanDisk’s X3 flash technology together with innovations in flash management are what allow us to continue making higher embedded storage capacities, such as 64GB, a practical solution in the market,” said Oded Sagee, director, mobile product marketing, SanDisk. “We understand the highly competitive environment in which our customers operate. By leveraging the substantial experience gained with our X3 NAND and significant advancements made in flash management technology, we offer our customers a very high return on their investment.”

Optimized For Maximum Efficiency

SanDisk iNAND EFDs consolidate system code and user storage into a single embedded device in order to conserve precious board space, simplify smartphone design, reduce power consumption and save OEMs the cost of an otherwise needed separate boot device. In addition, the drives utilize a unique state-aware architecture that grants the mobile host additional degrees of control over the storage device, enabling optimal resource utilization and improved system responsiveness.

iNAND devices based on X3 technology fully comply with the e.MMC 4.4 specification and range in capacities from 4GB to 64GB.

SANDISK SHIPS WORLD’S FIRST FLASH MEMORY CARDS WITH 64 Gigabit X4 (4-BITS-PER-CELL) NAND FLASH TECHNOLOGY [SanDisk press release, Oct 13, 2009]

  • Revolutionary X4™ technology combines advanced proprietary controller algorithms with world’s largest-capacity monolithic 64 Gigabit Flash chip
  • Volume shipments of SDHC™ and Memory Stick PRO™ cards employing X4 technology began in September 2009

X4_Products Milpitas, Calif., Oct. 13, 2009- SanDiskCorporation (NASDAQ: SNDK), the global leader in flash memory cards, today announced it has begun production shipments of flash memory cards based on the company’s advanced X4 flash memory technology. This innovative new technology holds four bits of data in each memory cell, twice as many as the cells in conventional multi-level cell (MLC) NAND (2-bits-per-cell) memory chips.

Based on 43-nanometer (nm) process technology, the 64-gigabit (Gb) NAND flash chip is the highest-density single-die memory device in the world to enter production. SanDisk is shipping 8 gigabyte (GB)1 and 16GB SDHC cards as well as 8GB and 16GB Memory Stick PRO Duo™ cardsusing X4 technology.

“The development and commercialization of X4 technology represents an important milestone for the flash storage industry,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, president and chief operating officer, SanDisk. “Our challenge with X4 technology was to not only deliver the lower costs inherent to 4-bits-per-cell, but to do so while meeting the reliability and performance requirements of industry standard cards that employ MLC NAND. Our world-class design and engineering team has applied its deep experience with high speed 2 and 3-bits-per-cell flash chip designs and collaborated closely with our leading design partners to develop and perfect new and powerful error correction algorithms to assure reliable operation. This intensive multi-year effort has generated powerful new patents and know-how, and demonstrates SanDisk’s relentless drive for innovations that result in the ever expanding use of flash storage in consumer applications such as music, videos, photos, games and numerous third party applications.”

“The shipment of 4-bits-per-cell technology is a necessary evolution for the industry,” said Joseph Unsworth, research director, Gartner. “Enabling this technology in mainstream products demonstrates a cost advantage in the flash memory industry that considers 2-bits-per-cell in a memory device as standard. The NAND industry continues to see a rapid pace of innovation, and adoption of this technology will be essential to remain competitive.”

SanDisk’s Advanced Development Efforts
SanDisk pioneered the removable flash memory storage industry since the company’s inception in 1988. The company continues to lead the industry with advancements in MLC and controller technology with the development of 2-bit, 3-bit and 4-bit-per-cell and 3D technologies.

Tel Aviv University (TAU) had provided a significant contribution to the X4 advanced error correcting and digital signal processing technology, which was licensed exclusively to SanDisk by Ramot at Tel Aviv University Ltd., TAU’s technology transfer company. “X4 took five years of development at SanDisk, and the finished product is a testament to the hard work and collaboration of the parties involved,” said Dr. Ze’ev Weinfeld, Ramot’s CEO. “Once we created the basic approach, SanDisk brought this to fruition by developing its advanced X4 controller and matching it with its advanced 43nm, 64Gb X4 memory thus making full X4 product implementation possible. This highlights the benefit commercial companies may gain from cooperation with TAU, building on our pool of talent and expertise.”

Toshiba Makes Major Advances in NAND Flash Memory with 3-bit-per-cell 32nm generation and with 4-bit-per-cell 43nm technology [Toshiba press release, Feb 11, 2009]

Image of 3-bit-per cell, 32nm chip Image of 4-bit-per cell, 43nm chip

TOKYO— Toshiba Corporation (TOKYO: 6502) today announced breakthroughs in multi-bit-per-cell technology for NAND flash memories that will bring advances in chip densities and cost savings to next generation devices. In the 32 nanometer (nm) generation, Toshiba has realized a 3-bit-per-cell 32 gigabit (Gb) chip with the world-smallest die size, and smaller than a 2-bit-per-cell 16Gb chip fabricated with 43nm technology, which is currently in the market. The cutting-edge chip will be mass produced in the second half of CY2009. The company has also fabricated the world’s first 64Gb chip that applies 4-bit-per-cell technology at the 43 nm process generation.

Toshiba and its technology partner, SanDisk, unveiled these key technology advances today at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) now underway in San Francisco, California.

Manufacturers of NAND flash memories must respond to demand for higher density with lower costs. Toshiba and SanDisk have done so through the application of its innovative technologies.

The 3-bit-per-cell 32nm generation device uses optimized circuit design for the row decoder and extended column architecture, which significantly contributed to a 113mm2chip, the smallest die size yet achieved in this generation. The 4-bit-per cell applies super multi-bit programming technologies, which realizes 64Gb without increase in chip size, while achieving a write speed performance of 7.8MB/s.

Toshiba and SanDisk have maintained their continuing leadership in the development and manufacturing of advanced NAND flash memory. Toshiba will promote further development in leading-edge process technologies to further widen the scope of application and to expand the NAND flash memory market.

SANDISK DEVELOPS 32-NANOMETER NAND FLASH TECHNOLOGY — SMALLEST, MOST ADVANCED FLASH MEMORY CHIP IN THE WORLD [SanDisk press release, Feb 10, 2009]

Combination of X3 and 32 nanometer Represents Breakthroughs in Size and Density; Significantly Reduces Manufacturing Cost While Maintaining Performance

    • Will allow for higher capacity of microSD cards not possible with existing technologies
    • Maintains performance levels of 43nm process technology due to SanDisk’s advanced All Bit-Line (ABL) architecture and 32nm process technology advancements

32nm_Flash_Technology ISSCC CONFERENCE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., Feb. 10, 2009 – SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) and Toshiba Corporation today announced the co-development of multi-level cell (MLC) NAND flash memory using 32-nanometer (nm) process technology to produce a 32-gigabit (Gb) 3-bits-per-cell (X3) memory chip. The breakthrough introduction is expected to quickly bring to market advanced technologies that will enable greater capacities and reduce manufacturing costs for products ranging from memory cards to Solid State Drives (SSD).

“The development of our third-generation 3-bits-per-cell technology on 32nm within one and a half years after the introduction of the first generation of 3-bits-per-cell on 56nm shows the incredibly fast pace necessary to be a world-class producer in today’s industry,” said Sanjay Mehrotra, co-founder and president, SanDisk. “This allows us to offer higher capacities at compelling form factors while reducing manufacturing costs – all helping to expand our various product lines. This new development highlights SanDisk’s deep level of technical expertise and innovation that ultimately benefits consumers.”

32nm X3 Technology-Ideal for microSD Applications
The 32Gb X3 on 32nm technology is the smallest NAND flash memory die reported so far, able to fit into the fingernail-sized microSD™ memory card format that has enjoyed widespread adoption in mobile phones and other consumer electronics devices. The 32nm 32Gb X3 is the highest density microSD memory die in the world, providing twice the capacity of a microSD chip on 43nm while still maintaining a similar die area. Advances in 32nm process technologies and in circuit design significantly contributed to a 113mm2 die-size while SanDisk’s patented All-Bit-Line (ABL) architecture has been a key enabler to maintain a competitive X3 write performance.

“The 32nm X3 die’s small footprint and incredible density will allow for the production of higher capacities of microSD cards than could be manufactured without this technology,” said Yoram Cedar, executive vice president, OEM business unit and corporate engineering, SanDisk. “The microSD form factor has grown in popularity due to rising demand for high capacity storage on mobile phones, and X3 will enable us to bring exciting new products to this market.”

Based On Key SanDisk Technologies
32nm is the most advanced flash memory technology node to date, requiring advanced solutions to manage the challenges of feature size scaling. 32nm technology combines several innovative technologies to reduce die area more aggressively than the trend-line of Moore’s Law.

32nm technology builds upon SanDisk’s successful deployment of immersion lithography in 43nmto implement spacer process without incurring additional investment in capital-intensive lithography equipment,” said Klaus Schuegraf, vice president, memory technology, SanDisk. “SanDisk brings its industry-leading 64-bit NAND string length to 32nm, while compensating for bit-to-bit interference effects with innovative programming algorithms and system design.”

SanDisk and Toshiba today presented a joint paper on 32nm 32Gb X3 NAND flash memory at the 2009 International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), highlighting the technical advancements that made 32nm possible. Production for the 32nm 32Gb X3 is expected to begin in the second half of 2009.

SANDISK ANNOUNCES WORLD’S FIRST HIGH PERFORMANCE 4-BITS-PER-CELL (X4) FLASH MEMORY TECHNOLOGY [SanDisk press release, Feb 10, 2009]

  • Highest capacity flash memory-enables 64Gb single die memory chip
  • Maintains performance on par with today’s MLC technology
  • Production of 64Gb X4 based on SanDisk’s mature 43nm technology is planned for the first half of 2009

x4_Flash_Memory_TechnologyBuilding on its leadership in multi-level cell (MLC) technology, SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ: SNDK) today announced that it will begin mass-production of the world’s first high performance 4-bits-per-cell (X4) flash memory. Using 43-nanometer (nm) process technology, this breakthrough enables 64-gigabit (Gb) memory in a single die – the highest capacity in the industryand suitable for the most demanding storage applications. SanDisk has also produced an advanced X4 controller, which is necessary to effectively manage the complexities and performance requirements of X4 memory. The X4 memory chip combines with the X4 controller chip in a multi-chip package (MCP) to provide a complete, integrated and low-cost storage solution.

“The development of X4 memory and controller technologies is a major milestone for flash memory storage that will provide significant long term benefits to SanDisk and play a critical role in future NAND flash scaling,” said Khandker Quader, senior vice president, memory technology & product development, SanDisk. “64Gb X4 is the result of numerous key innovations, and demonstrates SanDisk’s leadership in driving multi-bit flash memory with performance and cost suitable for storage-intensive applications such as music, movies, photos, GPS, games and more.”

X4 Flash Memory Breakthrough
SanDisk co-developed the 64Gb X4 flash memory chip on 43nm technology with Toshiba Corporation, which cooperates with SanDisk in the development and manufacturing of advanced flash memory. The new 43nm 64Gb X4 chip is the highest capacity and highest density flash memory die in the world to enter production this year, boasting a 7.8MB/sec memory write performance that is comparable with current multi-level cell technologies. SanDisk’s patented All-Bit-Line (ABL) architecture as well as the newly introduced three-step programming (TSP) and sequential sense concept (SSC) serve as key enablers to X4’s impressive performance.

X4 Controller Technology Is Key
SanDisk developed a number of innovative solutions for advanced system management that address the difficulties posed by this complex 4-bits-per-cell technology. The X4 controller, developed and owned by SanDisk, utilizes a first-of-its-kind error correcting code (ECC) scheme specifically developed for use in storage systems, and tailored to support the 16 levels of distribution needed for 4-bits-per-cell.

“The inherent challenges in producing 4-bits-per-cell technology with good performance and low costs require advanced system level innovations in multi-level storage,” said Menahem Lasser, vice president, future technologies and innovation, SanDisk. “Our X4 controller technology with its memory management and signal processing schemes is crucial to meeting the unique demands of 4-bits-per-cell memory, and demonstrates SanDisk’s ability to conceptualize and produce sophisticated flash memory solutions.”

Today, at the 2009 International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), SanDisk and Toshiba presented a technical paper describing the key technology advancements that led to the development of 64Gb 4-bits-per-cell NAND flash memory on 43nm technology node. This announcement comes one year after SanDisk unveiled its X3 (3-bits-per-cell NAND) technology at the 2008 ISSCC and was subsequently honored with the ISSCC 2009 Lewis Winner Outstanding Paper Award

SANDISK AND TOSHIBA SIGN DEFINITIVE AGREEMENT TO RESTRUCTURE FLASH MANUFACTURING JOINT VENTURES [SanDisk press release, Jan 29, 2009]

Significantly Strengthens SanDisk’s Financial Position By Reducing Lease Obligations And Increasing Cash

SanDisk (NASDAQ: SNDK) announced today that it has signed a definitive agreement with Toshiba to restructure their Flash manufacturing joint ventures operating at the 300-mm Fab 3 and Fab 4. As part of the agreement, more than 20 percent of the joint ventures’capacity will be transferred to Toshiba. The restructuring will result in the transfer of equipment lease obligations from SanDisk to Toshiba and a cash payment to SanDisk for the transfer of certain equipment currently owned by the joint ventures. The total value to SanDisk is approximately 80 billion yen, or approximately $890 million based on current exchange rates. Approximately two-thirds of the total amount will reduce SanDisk’s current equipment lease obligations by about 28% and approximately one-third will be received by SanDisk in cash. The lease transfers and cash payment are expected to be completed by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2009.

SanDisk and Toshiba will remain equal partners for the capacity remaining in the joint ventures. SanDisk will have the option to purchase a part of the transferred capacity from Toshiba on a foundry basis and retains the option to continue to invest up to 50 percent in future Fab 4 expansions and technology transitions in Fab 3 and Fab 4. In addition, the parties will continue their existing joint technology development in advanced NAND and 3D read/write memory.

“We are pleased to sign this definitive agreement with Toshiba which reflects the long-term commitment of both companies to our partnership. This agreement will reduce our capital spending, strengthen our financial position and increase our business flexibility by allowing us to return more rapidly to our desired captive/non-captive supply model. Importantly, this maintains the economies of scale of Fab 3 and Fab 4 for SanDisk and the deep technology and manufacturing cooperation between SanDisk and Toshiba,” said Dr. Eli Harari, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, SanDisk.

Toshiba And SanDisk Sign Memorandum Of Understanding To Consolidate Their FlashVision Manufacturing At Toshiba’s Yokkaichi, Japan Memory Fab [SanDisk press release, Dec 18, 2001]

More Expected To Realize Significantly More Cost Competitive Manufacturing Of Advanced NAND Flash Memory And Accelerate The Volume Production Of Next Generation .13-Micron NAND Flash Currently Under Joint Development

SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK) and Toshiba Corporation announced today that they have signed a binding Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) under which the two companies will consolidate their FlashVision advanced NAND flash wafer fab manufacturing operations at Toshiba’s memory fab at Yokkaichi, Japan. The two companies believe that they can achieve significantly more cost competitive NAND wafer manufacturing by consolidating all NAND wafer fab operations at Yokkaichi. Toshiba currently manufactures .16-micron NAND flash wafers for the FlashVision joint venture at both Yokkaichi and at the Dominion Semiconductor facility in Manassas, Virginia. Yokkaichi is Toshiba’s most advanced memory fab and has approximately twice the wafer fab capacity of the Dominion fab. Through this consolidation, Yokkaichi can provide significantly more cost-competitive NAND flash wafers than is possible at Dominion.

Under the terms of the MOU, Toshiba will equip a portion of the Yokkaichi Fab which is currently not being utilized with the more advanced, FlashVision-owned NAND production tool-set from Dominion. Toshiba has agreed to undertake full responsibility for the NAND production transition from Dominion to Yokkaichi which is expected to be completed in 2002. The companies expect to be able to meet 100% of their customers’ NAND requirements during the transition through increasing the current NAND manufacturing output at Yokkaichi. Once the consolidation is completed, Yokkaichi’s total NAND wafer output will match the combined current NAND capacity of Yokkaichi and Dominion. The parties contemplate that the FlashVision operation at Yokkaichi will continue in essentially the same 50-50 joint venture form as it has done at the Dominion facility in Virginia.

Yokkaichi is the site of Toshiba’s advanced NAND development pilot line, and currently all new NAND products first enter volume production at Yokkaichi. This consolidation will streamline the transfer of new technology and thereby accelerate the volume transition in 2002 from .16-micron NAND to the more cost competitive NAND/MLC (multi-level cell), as well as the .13-micron NAND.

Takeshi Nakagawa, President of Toshiba Semiconductor Company, said, “The centralization of flash memory production at Yokkaichi from Dominion will reinforce cost competitiveness and support smooth mass production at the initial stage of new products. We position NAND flash memory as the most important pillar of our memory business and we will try our best to expand its business. In line with this move, Toshiba will solidify relations with SanDisk, including product development with multi-level cell technology and advanced process technology. Under this alliance, we are very confident that we are leading and enjoy an advantageous position over our competitors.”

Eli Harari, SanDisk President and CEO, said, “Our NAND flash partnership with Toshiba is coming out stronger as a result of this consolidation. Toshiba’s senior management shares our vision that the NAND flash partnership between our two companies has a great future and Toshiba has agreed to forego any NAND participation from a third partner. Although we are pleased with Dominion’s performance, we feel that the consolidation opportunity with Toshiba at Yokkaichi affords us a unique opportunity to accelerate our access to one of the world’s lowest cost sources for our NAND wafers. We believe the combination of the highly cost-efficient Yokkaichi facility and the FlashVision advanced equipment tool-set from Dominion will provide us with materially lower wafer costs over the long-term while preserving our near-term access to wafer supply. We plan to negotiate with our current lenders for the leasing of the FlashVision tool-set that will permit the transfer of these tools by FlashVision to the Yokkaichi facility. Assuming that the consolidation proceeds as planned, we do not expect to see any adverse financial impact in 2002, nor do we expect any reduction to our NAND supply relative to the current FlashVision plan at Dominion. We expect to begin to see a substantial positive impact to our NAND memory cost structure starting in the second half of 2002 and improving further in 2003 and beyond.”

E Ink strategic value proposition: displays on every smart surface

UpdatesReflective OutLook: Shades of Gray or Colorful? [Touch and Display-Enhancement Issue of Information Display, Sept 21, 2012]

E Ink and SiPix
Meanwhile, could color have anything do to do with E Ink’s recent announcement of its intention to acquire SiPix, whose microcup technology does show promise in that area? E Ink will certainly utilize SiPix’s color capabilities, says Sriram K. Peruvemba, Chief Marketing Officer for E Ink Holdings. Peruvemba characterizes that color as having “some of the same advantages as E Ink in that it is low power, sunlight readable, thin, light … .”
Beyond a doubt, one area of interest for E Ink is SiPix’s manufacturing capabilities. “SiPix’s factories, equipment, and infrastructure are relatively newer, which gives us greater flexibility and additional capacity as we seek new markets,” says Peruvemba. Among the markets that the potential acquisition will make more accessible, he says, are digital signage and smart cards.
When it comes to E Ink, it isn’t necessarily all about color, notes University of Cincinnati’s Jason Heikenfeld, who has served as a guest editor for Information Display (and is also a founder of e-Paper up-and-comer  Gamma Dynamics, mentioned later on). “We should maintain excitement about the continued expansion of monochrome e-Paper products,” he says. “A quiet revolution continues to take place there. Color-video e-Paper will also have its day, but today we should be impressed with E Ink’s continued product growth and diversification.”
Any way you look at it, with E Ink, whose share of the e-Reader market is more than 90%, poised to acquire AUO subsidiary SiPix, further consolidation in the e-Paper market seems inevitable. At press time, E Ink had reached an agreement to acquire 82.7% of SiPix’s shares and was seeking to acquire up to a 100% stake, valued at approximately NT$1.5 billion [US$ 51.2 million]. [See: Complementary ePaper technology adds to E Ink’s portfolio of offerings [E Ink Holdings press release, Aug 3, 2012]] As DisplaySearch analyst Paul Semenza wrote in a recent blog, titled And Then There Was One – E Ink to Acquire SiPix, “Combined with Bridgestone’s exit [earlier this year] from the electrophoretic display (EPD) business, this means that E Ink, the first company to mass produce EPDs, will be the sole manufacturer of the technology.”
Yet, the e-Paper story isn’t all black and white. In the future, look for news from Liquavista (which Samsung acquired in January 2011) and Gamma Dynamics (a spinoff from the University of Cincinnati). Both companies have video-capable displays (Liquivista’s is based on electrowetting and Gamma Dynamics’s on electrofluidics) that are reported to show more vibrant color than previously available.

Meanwhile innovation in “color inking” is continuing as evidenced by Vivid e-ink makes ditching books a colourful choice [NewScientist, Sept 5, 2012]

… Naoki Hiji of Fuji Xerox in Kaisei, Japan, and colleagues have built a prototype system that uses tiny fluid-filled cells containing cyan, magenta, yellow and white particles to produce almost any colour.
Black-and-white e-ink displays work by having negatively charged black particles and positively charged white particles suspended in fluid inside a cell. Apply a negative electrical field to the cell, and white particles move to the top and become visible; flip the current, and black shows up.
Hiji’s display uses the same principle, but each colour particle responds to a certain intensity of electrical field, while the white particles are uncharged (see diagram). …

No problem with reading on tablets over a long period of time [Eva Siegenthaler on IFeL bloggt, Sept 20, 2012]

Tablets are not suited for reading over an extended period of time”; this statement is widespread. For example Scott Liu, head of the American-Taiwanese company E Ink Holdings, states that reading over an extended period of time on a Liquid Crystal display leads to increased visual fatigue. “The iPad is a fascinating multifunctional device, but not intended for hour-long reading” (stern.de). In comparison, E-ink readers, with their paper similar displays, are looked at as an adequate replacement for a book.
But is it true that the tablet is an inadequate device for reading over an extended period of time? Critical statements against the tablet as a replacement for the book are widespread but there is a lack of scientific evidence for these assumptions. For that reason, a study answering this question was implemented at the Institute for Research in Open- Distance- and eLearning (IFeL).
In a laboratory study, the participants read for several hours on either E-ink (Sony PRS-600) or LCD-Tablet (Apple iPad), where different measures of reading behaviour and visual strain were regularly (after each hour) recorded. These dependent measures included subjective (visual) fatigue, a letter search task, reading speed, oculomotor behaviour, and pupillary light reflex.
The results of the study show that reading on both display types is good and very similar in terms of both subjective and objective measures. Participants did not have more visual fatigue when reading on a tablet than when reading on an E-ink device. We concluded from this study that it is not the technology itself, but rather the image quality that is crucial for reading. The study shows that compared to the visual display units of past decades, recent electronic displays allow good and comfortable reading, even for extended time periods.
A few critical remarks still need to be made though. This laboratory study was conducted under artificial light conditions. Therefore it is unclear if an experiment under daylight conditions would lead to the same results. Another interesting question is how the sleep quality is influenced by different display technologies.
But still, the result of the study is an important novelty in reading research, and is opposed to many statements from publishers and subjective user self tests, that have stated that tablets are not appropriate for reading over a long period of time.
More information on the study is available online: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x/abstract
Publication:
Siegenthaler, E., Bochud, Y., Bergamin, P. and Wurtz, P. (2012), Reading on LCD vs e-Ink displays: effects on fatigue and visual strain. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 32: 367–374. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-1313.2012.00928.x
Sources:
http://www.stern.de/digital/homeentertainment/e-book-lesegeraete-die-gretchenfrage-beim-elektronischen-lesen-1596371.html

Beyond the Kindle: what the future holds for E Ink [TechRadar, Sept 10, 2012]

IN DEPTH Ereaders for classrooms, smart locks and dual screen smartphones on the cards

The ereader market has been tripling in volume since 2007 but not this year,” explained Siram Peruvemba, E Ink’s chief marketing officer, to TechRadar.
“It is partly to do with tablets but the biggest reason is that the economy is off at the moment… we have also seen not as many product launches as last year and the year before.”
“We believe that E Ink will come to home appliances. We are thinking differently – we want E Ink on every surface.
“There are a lot of dumb surfaces around and by adding the E Ink technology we can transform them, by adding a display and making them smart.
“We are going to keep going in that direction, enhancing products. Whether it is animated shelf labels, USB keys… drills.”
“We create a lot of these concepts and some of them go nowhere, while some are picked up” – the company continues to create prototypes to show how versatile E Ink technology can be.
It also seems that sometimes an E Ink device created for one specific market may take on a wholly different guise when it is finally released in the wild.

E Ink, now available in lock form

“One concept that was picked up but not how we originally intended was our E Ink lock,” said Peruvemba.
“This was originally pitched as a bicycle lock, where it could tell you if your bike was locked properly or not. It’s very low powered, just an E Ink display with a hole in the middle. But it just didn’t get picked up; no one in the bicycle world wanted it.”
“And then a company called InVue decided to take it on and use it for cabinet displays, it’s virtually indestructible so no more broken keys – alleviating a problem that retailers have with their cabinets.”
White lightning
This move away from ereaders doesn’t mean that E Ink is not innovating in the market it continues to dominate.
The latest kindle to be launched, the Kindle Paperwhite, shows that E Ink can compete with tablets when it comes to display.
Using E Ink’s Pearl technology and LED lighting it means you can use your Kindle in the dark, but still offer a screen that’s easier on the eyes – something tablets just can’t do.

E Ink makes smartphones smarter

One final place where we could see an E Ink screen is on the back of a mobile phone. Again, it’s E ink’s mantra of making a ‘dumb’ space smart. According to Peruvemba an additional screen on a mobile could be exactly what consumers need.
“Most of these mobile phones have nothing going on on the back.
“We can add another display at low cost on the back of the device and offer things like clocks, stock information.”
Peruvemba also hinted: “There are vendors looking into this technology – it is very new but typically we should see this type of concept come within the year.”
Looks like the world is going to be E Ink stained for some time to come.

E Ink Booth Tour at SID 2012 [EInkSeeMore, the official YouTube channel of E Ink, June 20, 2012]

E Ink CMO Sri Peruvemba shows new products and concepts from E Ink and their partners, including traffic lights, crosswalks, kayak and bike computers, and various signage.

E Ink at IFA 2012 [Charbax YouTube channel, Aug 31, 2012]

Sriram Peruvemba of E Ink shows the latest demonstrations for the use of E Ink on devices and signage around the world. The backs of smartphones and tablets can be an E Ink screen.

E-Ink concept double-display smartphone hands-on [SlashGear, Aug 31, 2012]

… What could a twin-screen smartphone of this sort be used for? E Ink has a few ideas, though is leaving most of that to OEMs. An ereader app is the obvious choice, though you could also show a digital boarding pass for a plane (even if you had no battery life remaining on your phone to drive the regular screen), QR codes, or mapping directions. Alternatively, the panel could be used to show promotional information, such as vouchers for nearby stores, or even sponsored messages in return for free call, message and data credit. …

E INK ANNOUNCES 2011 FINANCIAL REPORT [E Ink Holdings press release, Feb 22, 2012] Company also launches new website, www.einkgroup.com to encompass all E Ink companies

… In 2011 consolidated sales revenues totaled NT$ 38.43 billion [US$1.3 billion], a growth of 53% as compared to 2010. Profit after-tax totaled NT $6.53 billion [US$220.85 million] and EPS totaled NT$6.05, a growth of 59 percent as compared to 2010. … Scott Liu, the chairman of E Ink, said, “… in 2012 we expect to strengthen our competitiveness and continue development of both flexible and color ePaper technologies. Additionally, we expect a customer to launch a high-resolution product with touch technology within this year.”

As to market development, Liu said, “in addition to the eReader market, we are also actively expanding into the education and business markets. …”

Today E Ink also announced the launch of a new global website, www.einkgroup.com, which provides product, technology and operational information for all of the companies under the E Ink umbrella.

Sriram Peruvemba, chief marketing officer of E Ink Holdings, said: “As our businesses expand and products become diversified, we are keenly aware of the importance of integrating our internal resources globally. This is why we decided to launch einkgroup.com as the portal of E Ink Holdings around the globe. This website provides information of product and technology of E Ink Holdings, in which browsers can easily find the information they need.”

Visitors to the site will find a consolidated location to browse the technology, product offerings and company backgrounds for the organizations under the E Ink Holdings umbrella. The site will host the Investor Relations portal for E Ink Holdings, as well as sales and marketing information. In addition to their inclusion in the new website, product line websites, such as www.eink.com and www.hydis.com will continue to host information particular to their technologies and job offerings.

Shares of E Ink under pressure amid market uncertainty [Focus Taiwan of the CNA, Feb 23, 2011]

“Despite record high earnings for 2011, E Ink’s gross margin has been squeezed by price cuts by the Kindle series of e-paper devices of Amazon, which is the largest customer of the Taiwanese firm,” Mirae Asset Management analyst Arch Shih said.

“With market uncertainty expected to continue to impact product prices, I am afraid that E Ink’s profit margin will keep falling in the first quarter of this year,” he said.

In the fourth quarter of last year, E Ink’s gross margin fell 6.8 percentage points to 28.6 percent, while it posted NT$1.28 billion in net profit, or NT$1.19 per share, down from NT$2.08 recorded in the third quarter.

… “Amazon has tried its best to stage a price war in a bid to grasp a larger market share, and at the same time, it has cut contract production fees to its suppliers like E Ink,” Shih said. “This development has imposed a pressing threat to E Ink’s operations.”

“Share prices tend to reflect forward-looking prospects, so it was no surprise to see investors dumping the stock,” he went on.

E Ink said it has become very cautious about its earnings outlook for 2012 and that it is possible its sales and profit will see the largest challenge of the year in the first quarter due to slow-season effects.

Shih said the global EPD market is suffering a failure to expand content to attract buyers and that the problem is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

“I doubt E Ink will have a quick turnaround after the first quarter. Its share price is expected to continue to be pressured,” Shih said.

E Ink reports 33.26% earnings decline [Taipei Times, Feb 23, 2011]

… The decline in profit was because of the higher shipments of fringe field switching (FFS) LCD panels, which offer lower margins than the company’s flagship product — e-paper — E Ink chairman Scott Liu (劉思誠) said at an investors’ conference yesterday. …

Liu said this year would be a “challenging year full of uncertainties,” mainly because of the possible fallout from the unresolved eurozone debt crisis.

“Clients are conservative and said the market visibility is low,” he said, adding that E Ink would no longer provide shipment targets or projections in a response to clients’ requests.

E Ink posts EPS of over NT$6 in 2011 [DIGITIMES, Feb 23, 2012]


EIH plans to launch its next-generation color e-paper products in the fourth quarter of 2012, but the company currently does not have plans to ramp up its capacity for color EPD products, Liu said.

The company is also developing flexible e-paper products, using plastic substrates instead of glass substrates used previously, with new products to be released in the third or fourth quarter, Liu revealed.

Amazon 6″ color Kindle will not be arriving this year [übergizmo, Feb 21, 2012]

Just yesterday we reported that according to Digitimes, Amazon is supposedly working on a 6” Kindle e-reader that will be utilizing colored e-ink. This rumor supposedly came about based on reports that E Ink Holdings had landed an order from Amazon for 6” color e-reader modules, but Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader, who’s had a pretty decent track record when it comes to these rumors, doesn’t seem to think so.

According to Nate who contacted his source at E Ink, this is completely untrue. His source told him that if Amazon were indeed planning a color e-reader, they would only be able to start shipping them in a year’s time, because that would be how long it would take Amazon to set up a new production line for this rumored device.

He also revealed that while E Ink has been making the Triton screens for years, it has mainly been the 9.7” model and not one in the 6” variety like the rumors had suggested and can be found in the Ectaco Jetbook Color. For now it looks like if you had hopes for a 6” color Amazon Kindle e-reader this year, you could be out of luck but we’ll be keeping our eyes open either way.

End of updates

EPD maker E Ink Holdings (EIH) reportedly has landed orders for 6-inch color e-book reader modules from Amazon with shipments to begin in March, according to a Chinese-language Economic Daily News (EDN) report.

Shipments of the touched-enabled e-book reader modules are expected to top three million units a month, the paper said.

EIH is to reveal its financial results for 2011 at an investors conference on February 22, said the paper, which added that EIH is expected to report an EPS of over NT$6 (US$0.2) for the year.

At: E Ink lands 6-inch color e-book reader module orders from Amazon, says paper [Feb 20, 2012]

So, E Ink’s business seems to expand quite well along the traditional e-book reader direction. But what is the more general business direction? In this post I am giving the answer.

Before that it is also worth to go through the previous posts: E Ink Holdings EPD prospects are good [April 30, 2011 – Jan 9, 2012], Barnes & Noble NOOK offensive [May 25, 2011], E Ink and Epson achieve world-leading ePaper resolution [May 23, 2011] and Hanvon – E-Ink strategic e-reader alliance for price/volume leadership supplementing Hanvon’s premium strategy mostly based on an alliance with Microsoft and Intel [Dec 21, 2010].

The marketing idea of E Ink as a technology for all kind of smart surfaces came up in 2008 at the E Ink Corporation when it was an organization independent of any EPD panel manufacturers:

“Fashion is a key driver in today’s world,” said Sriram Peruvemba, Vice President of Marketing, E Ink Corp.E Ink offers a smart surface that changes the design and brings mobile phones to the fashion forefront of technology.”

See: E INK ANNOUNCES MOBILE PHONE DESIGN WINS IN JAPAN [July 22, 2008]

When in 2010 it was acquired by the leading EPD panel manufacturer (then called Prime View International, immediately renamed as E Ink Holdings) that idea was picked up by the new owner as well and even extended into a kind of a general vision:

“The E Ink name is synonymous with the ePaper industry that we pioneered and in which we enjoy a leadership position,” said Dr. Scott Liu, Chairman and CEO of E Ink Holdings Incorporated. “We are now a globally recognized brand name and aim to have our displays on every smart surface.”

See: PRIME VIEW INTERNATIONAL (PVI) IS NOW E INK HOLDINGS INCORPORATED [June 18, 2010]

And now at CES 2012 we had a full manifestation of that marketing concept:

E Ink On Every Smart Surface [Charbax, Jan 15, 2012]

Exclusive 17-minute interview with E Ink’s CMO at CES, where they showed me a Triton color display for signage with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. I also saw the SURF display used in a hand drill which has not been filmed before. The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson. The Triton color display based Ectaco eReader that had just won the CES innovation award, it is being deployed in Russian schools. New E Ink watches from Phosphor and Seiko. Finally, the Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched this week was demonstrated, it is considered to be indestructible. E Ink has shipped over 25 million E Ink screens for e-readers alone in 2011, that’s up from 10 million screens in 2010 and 4 million screens in 2009. Now E Ink is also working to expand into new markets, signage, appliances, everywhere. The idea is that more and more devices and surfaces may get an E Ink screen on them that thus by being bi-stable can show the informations for a long time without using any battery. While many electronic paper technology companies show samples, E Ink is actually in mass production with monochrome, color and segmented displays and they claim that no technology in the world comes close to the reading experience on E Ink’s displays and these displays are easy on the eyes since they don’t have a shiny background or light emitting backlight.

The above note produced by the author of video, Nicolas Charbonnier, aka Charbax, is not meant to elaborate all the talk by the Chief Marketing Officer of E Ink Holdings Sriram Peruvemba (or Sri Peruvemba). Since this post is about the strategic value proposition of E Ink I had to compose a note of my own which also corresponds to the order of presentation by Sri Peruvemba on the Charbax video:

  1. Amazon Kindle lineup, most used in the area of leasure reading.
  2. The 11.5″ 300DPI eDocument reader made in collaboration with Epson, going beyond publishing into what they are calling e-document space. Their plan is to replace electronic forms that are used by different folks with their laptops replacing printed paper, pads of paper and that sort of the things. These devices will have WiFi support, pen input and ability to edit. Some applications you may imagine are in inventory logistics, in the doctor’s office, and attorneys and other office people carrying this. They can put a number of images on them which would be very suitable for this 300DPI display, e.g. circuits, graphs, charts, maps and that sort of things. This has almost twice the resolution of the most of the other displays they are shipping which have a 167 to 200DPI resolution.
  3. With E-Ink technology they are at the point where it is better than reading on printed paper [for B/W]. Now they have pen input available on their devices thus replacing both printed paper and pen with their products. The idea here is to allow people to highlight, annotate, write notes and use it to fill-out forms. The E-Ink display would come into play during this (not the processor is the “limiting factor”) in the B/W case the native speed can be used which is 250 msec response time for the E-Ink display.
  4. Color E-Ink display based on the Triton display material. ECTACO JetBook Color, an actually shipping device is shown. It is being deployed in Russian schools as replacement for textbooks. They are still in early stages of deployment with this device but see a lot of promise in the education sector. They expect the education to be one of the largest markets for E-Ink, both the monochrome and color Trident display. A devices like this ECTACO JetBook Color is not simply replacement for textbooks but in fact it is a library. You can put a thousand books or more on any one of these devices and replacing the library. Literally every student has a library of his/her own. It also increases the interaction between the student and the teacher. Tests are created and assessed almost instantenously. Another point is that the color feature in the EPD display allows to convey more information and so students have much better learning tool than they had with printed books. Also books will never be out of the stock, there will be no late fees with the library and the content is available 24×7 etc. As far as the price of the color display is concerned the color is still based on the monochrome display, they put a color filter on top. So the color filter is an additional cost but most of the additional costs on the device itself would probably be the cost of the software (from E-Ink Holdings’ customer engineering the device) that makes the additional features of a colored device possible compared to the monochrome.
  5. Triton color display for signage (like the large billboards put on the streets) with color so saturated that it looked like an LCD except that it was thinner than OLED, sunlight readable, uses no backlights and uses very little power. This is all the result of a significant increase of the pixel size when significantly more light is coming to each pixel. They are looking at applications at signage space where you are looking at a device not from 6″ away but to a device that is 6 feets or 60 feets awaywhere the larger pixels are perfect for that.
  6. Brief showing of the SURF display (used in a hand drill shown later) just to demonstrate the display materialfor that case.
  7. The actual E-Ink display material is extremely thin and flexible like a sheet of transparency foil. This is the direction they are going to make display without glass and conform to non-flat surfaces, getting into non-publishing applicationslike signage.
  8. A concept power drill with the SURF display put on the surface as a case of showing the usefullness of an EPD display for a battery powered device when otherwise you would have no idea about whether there is enough battery power left or not. This could be quite an annoyance when you climb up a ladder and in the process you discover that the battery power to work with the drill drained down too soon. They can cut the display material in a needed shape so the display can be non-rectangular. E.g. a wrist watch is shown where the display material is round shaped. E-Ink is very unique in this respectamong the display technologies.
  9. Eton Ruckus music player with E Ink display that was launched that week was demonstrated, it is meant for outdoor applications and considered to be virtually indestructible. It combines the solar technology with the E-Ink display, and essentially all of the solar power is used to listen to music rather than showing information. Considered to be a perfect combination for applications like that and they foresee many more deployments like that in the future.
  10. A couple of wristwatches. With a segmented SURF display which is curved and in a unique shape (a Phosphor device). Then a matrix display in a Seiko watch where you can have images changedon the display.
  11. For segmented display they can go for very low volumes because that kind of display doesn’t involve fabricating the backplane in a fab. But on the other hand the matrix displays (for which much larger order volumes are required) can be made in very large sizes since they are making their display material in rolls, seven feet wide and going a kilometer long. So a lot of new applications will come up, in areas where display technology hasn’t been used before. Then their unique selling point is the ruggedness of the E-Ink display material as well.

After that it is worth to watch the following, very recent branding/directional videos from E Ink Holdings:

    • Imagine… a classroom with no paper… Build an eLearning environment
    • Imagine… a schoolbag with no book… Build an eLearning environment
    • Imagine… A ubiquitous home… Build an eLearning environment
  • E Ink – The First Law of More – Innovation:
    E Ink – More 的第一法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
    • states: the more you See, the more you Do
    • … Evolution is a collaborative process …
    • We’ve teamed up with some of the best names in the electronics business like: Epson, Freescale, Marvell Semiconductor and Texas Instruments to create an electronics ecosystem that will nurture the E Ink innovations of the future.
    • We’ve joined forces with some of the most iconic brands in the world including Sony, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Samsung, Lexar and Motorola to bring an exiting new generation of consumer products to life.
    • We believe more innovation brings more good into the world. As an 840 million dollar [US] company we intend to do everything we can to make a big difference.
  • The Second Law of More – Growth:
    E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
    • states: the more you Do, the more you Grow
    • 100,000 displays in 2006 … over 10 million in 2010 …
    • today almost every e-book device on the market uses E Ink enabled reflective displays
    • Tomorrow we expect to lead the way in e-textbooks, providing a libray in every student’s backpack. And a few years down the road we see ourselves in signage of all shapes and sizes.
    • The next generation of E Ink applications is being developed as we speak: the paperless office, electronic toll passes, sporting goods, musical score sheets, personal medical devices, and more.
    • Look at the future from our vantage point. You’ll see why we are excited.
  • The Third Law of More – Green:
    E Ink – More 的第二法則 [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Feb 17, 2012]
    • states: the more you Grow, the more you Care
    • Care = Save In more ways than you can imagine
    • E-Ink display use 97% less energy than the LCD versions
    • Under normal conditions an E Ink enabled e-reader runs three weeks on a single charge. That is supposed to be a day and a half on an LCD display.
    • A recent study from the University of California Berkely shows that an E Ink enabled electronic newspaper releases 32 – 140x less CO2than its paper counterpart. What’s more, e-book saved trees by drastically reducing the consumption of paper.
    • This year sales of e-books are predicted to top 1 billion [US] dollars, more than 10x increase over last year. …

Also important to see E Ink’s video about:
How E Ink Works [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Oct 17, 2011]

Ever wonder how your eReader screen works? The ePaper display is made with E Ink, which is basically black and white particles inside small microcapsules. Watch to learn how E Ink technology works!

As well as another video about:
E Ink Color Triton technology [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Sept 23, 2011]

Watch to learn about E Ink Triton, the only commercially available color electronic paper display, and see how E Ink technology works!

Finally there are two important electronic paper product demos:
E Ink Electronic Paper Display Products [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2011]

E Ink CMO Sri Peruvemba explains E Ink products – electronic paper displays. The displays are both monochrome (Pearl) and color (Triton), up to 300dpi high resolution, and in several sizes.

E Ink Products/Concepts Tour at FPD [EInkSeeMore YouTube channel, Nov 7, 2011]

E Ink Director of Product Management Giovanni Mancini takes us on a tour at the 2011 FPD show in Yokohama, Japan. He shows us the new all plastic eReader, E Ink and LED road sign, Epson music stand with foot pedals that turn the page, and Toppan E Ink tags that update without batteries!

Then comes:
Ectaco jetBook Color on Fox News [ECTACO YouTube channel, Jan 24, 2012]

An edited clip showing the jetBook Color on Fox News at the 2012 CES in Las Vegas. The jetBook Color was the CES 2012 Innovations Award winner.

ECTACO jetBook Color introduced in Russian Schools – цветная эл.книга [ECTACO YouTube channel, Dec 2, 2011]

PLEASE TURN ON CC [Red] FOR ENGLISH CAPTIONS Introduction of Ectaco’s groundbreaking new jetBook Color in in Public School #239, Saint Petersburg, Russia. Презентация первой в мире электронной книги ECTACO jetBook COLOR в рамках проекта “О переходе на электронное образование” в школе №239, города Санк-Петербурга, Россия. Учитель и ученики делятся своими впечатлениями от полученного опыта.

William (Bill) Wong, staff technology editor from Electronic Design – focusing on embedded, software, and systems otherwise – who is an ardent follower of E Ink’s progress. For more E Ink related information you can watch his two Engineering TV Videos and a few Electronic Design excerpts given below:

Behind the Scenes at CES 2012 – Display Technology [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 25, 2012]

Eink’s electronic paper display (EPD) is popular with e-readers and it has been used on other devices such as Lexar’s JumpDrive flash that shows the amount of space used on the drive. The display uses no power when not plugged in and draws only a tiny amount when updating the display. Eink was showing off color demos and EPD prototype applications. It is a technology worth investigating for embedded applications.

Cortex-A9 Incorporates Electronic Paper Display Controller [William Wong, Electronic Design, Jan 18, 2012]

E-readers with electronic paper displays (EPDs) provide an excellent reading experience. But most of these e-readers have been underpowered compared to smart phones and tablets. E-reader manufacturers try to keep costs low, which is why processor performance has been lower.

Freescale’s i.MX 6SoloLite and i.MX 6DualLite target these low-cost products with one or two 1-GHz ARM Cortex-A9 cores. Developers will have to decide whether the i.MX 6SoloLite’s 2D graphics are sufficient or if they require the 3D graphics support of the i.MX 6DualLite. Likewise, the 6SoloLite has a 32-bit DDR3 controller, while the 6DualLite has a 64-bit DDR3 controller for a higher-performance platform. Both support LP-DDR2 memory along with a range of flash memory.

The i.MX 6DualLite has a single shader, compared to the four 3D shaders found in the higher-end i.MX 6Dual and i.MX6Quad chips. The family also addresses LCD screens, so these chips may find their way into low-end tablets and embedded display devices. The i.MX 6DualLite has HDMI, low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS), and MIPI display support along with a MIPI camera interface as well. And, this chip tops the Solo with a Gigabit Ethernet port and a PCI Express x1 link.

The i.MX 6DualLite is pin-compatible with other i.MX 6 chips like the 1-GHz i.MX 6Solo, 1.2-GHz i.MX 6Dual, and 1.2-GHz i.MX6Quad. All are software compatible. Software support includes Google Android 4.0, Windows Embedded CE, QNX, Ubuntu, Linux, Linaro, and Skype.

Nokia’s strategy for “the next billion” based on software and web optimization with super low-cost 2.5/2.75G SoCs

Preliminary reading: Smarterphone end-to-end software solution for “the next billion” Nokia users [Jan 9-11, 2012]

With today’s news that Nokia reportedly to release 2.5G, 2.75G chip orders to Taiwan firms [Feb 14, 2012] (see below among the SoC-related set of information) we have all the details of Nokia’s strategy for “the next billion”. Below you can find all of that according to the title of this collection post.

Update Nokia makes internet access faster and easier with new browser for Series 40 devices [Nokia press release, April 23, 2012]

– Nokia Browser 2.0 delivers enhanced speeds and a new user interface for a faster, better way to explore the web
– Powered by cloud-based servers, it delivers accelerated browsing and reduces data consumption by up to 90%, without compromising the internet experience
– Web apps from the expanding catalog are easier than ever to explore and install right in the browser

Espoo, Finland – Nokia has today announced the availability of Nokia Browser 2.0, a major update dedicated to Nokia Series 40 devices. The new version reduces data consumption by up to 90%, meaning that consumers can enjoy faster and cheaper internet access. Web sites load up to three times faster in comparison to devices without cloud-accelerated browsing and consumers will also benefit from a number of other enhanced capabilities.

From the first look, consumers are easily able to discover new web content and enjoy one-click access to top, local sites via the Nokia Browser’s inviting and intuitive start page. We have optimized the browser to enable users to easily stay connected with friends and family at the touch of a button as well as to share files and links across social networks. The new and improved Download Manager helps consumers to manage external content easily, saving music, video or pictures on a memory card, while surfing the internet.

The browser includes a revamped, modern user experience that makes it simple to find, install and use interesting web apps that offer a richer, more desktop-like internet experience. Launched in mid-2011, the Nokia Browser is the first browser of its kind to support web apps, and now boasts a catalogue of more than 10,000 of the latest apps. Several publishers have experienced over a million downloads in a matter of months, demonstrating strong consumer demand.

With this update, developers will find new monetization capabilities, more extensive user interface options for their web apps and productivity improvements for Nokia Web Tools so they can continue delivering engaging, connected experiences to the ‘Next Billion’ consumers.

The update supports all forms of Series 40: Touch, QWERTY and Non-Touch, including the Nokia Asha range, as well as popular devices such as the Nokia C3-00, Nokia C2-03 and Nokia X3-02. The update will be pre-loaded on some current and all future Nokia Series 40 devices, while for existing users the update arrives as a free, optional over-the-air download. New users can download it from the Nokia Store. The browser is available in 87 languages in over 200 countries and territories.

Nokia Browser 2.0 makes use of cloud-based servers which adapt standard web pages so that they perform better on Nokia Series 40 devices. Since web pages are compressed and cached in the cloud, end users can access web sites in a manner which is faster and requires significantly less data to be sent over their mobile network. For pay-per-use contracts this will result in more cost-effective browsing, while users on an operator data plan will be able to do more web surfing without exceeding their monthly usage limits.

“With our new version, we’ve created a newer, faster, better browsing experience. As many consumers around the world will experience the internet for the first time through a mobile phone, this is a great step towards our goal to connect the ‘Next Billion’,” explains Dieter May, senior vice president of mobile phones services, Nokia.

New in the Nokia Browser 2.0

1. Faster browsing with speed improvements throughout the experience.
2. Easier access to new and popular Web apps to enable a richer and more engaging internet experience.
3. New, intuitive user interface offers one click access to search, most popular content and most valuable features.
4. Media handling enhancements provide an easier way to enjoy video, audio and images. Users can download in background mode while continuing to browse the web or queue downloads for later when performance or rates are better.  Downloads can be saved to memory cards or phone memory for later offline viewing or listening.
5. One-click share on Social Networks by remembering Facebook and/or Twitter login to easily share any page URL and comments from your browser.

Developers can find out more about how the updated browser will enable them to build rich standards-based web apps at: http://www.developer.nokia.com/Develop/Series_40/Series_40_web_apps/.
Consumers can download the Nokia Browser 2.0 at: http://store.nokia.com/content/51924

Update from Nokia’s CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, April 19, 2012]

… In the area of Mobile Phones, we continue to renew our Series 40 portfolio. For example, we recognized the need for dual SIM and delivered 8 dual SIM devices over the past year. We delivered consumers more aspirational designs and experiences through 7 new Asha products. The Net Promoter Scores for some Asha devices are the highest we’ve had for Mobile Phones products.

We acquired Smarterphone, a Norwegian company that brings new user interface technology and expertise to Nokia. We’ve increased download rates from feature phones to more than 4 million a day by improving store access and payment schemes and adding new apps like Whatsapp, Foursquare and EA.

We released a new version of Nokia Life, which delivers education, health, agriculture and entertainment services via SMS. And we delivered a new proxy browser, and we’re now bringing the browser and web apps down to super low-end devices. However, as we highlighted last week, there are still areas where our future phone portfolio is at a competitive disadvantage. We plan to address some of these issues in Q2.

That being said, the structural shift from feature phones towards low-priced smartphones is a challenge. Our increased investments in Mobile Phones R&D are intended to address these challenges. …

From Q&A part of that:

… we’ve been taking some very deliberate steps to not only pick up the pace, but to make it easier to accelerate the pace around the development in Series 40. I mentioned as one example, the acquisition of Smarterphone in this space to give us more flexibility and speed as it relates to the user interface elements, for example, of that platform. So this is — it’s a good example of something where, from a code and engineering perspective, we’re paying off a bit of a debt and having to catch up and accelerate. But you’re seeing the progress being made. But still in the near term, it causes us some problems, which is what gives me some confidence that we can continue to catch up and address those challenges. It’s just that the competition is ahead of us in a couple of spots, and we’ve got to nail that. …

Update: Relevant excerpts from the Nokia 2011 fiscal year report [March 8, 2012]

Market overview

With respect to conventional mobile devices, it is still commonplace for the market to be characterized in terms of feature phones – also sometimes called mobile phones – and smartphones. The distinction between these two classes of mobile products is typically rooted in their differing capabilities in terms of software and hardware, the opportunities they provide for third-party application development, the richness of the experience they offer and the volume of data they process. Historically, feature phones have been primarily used for calling and text messaging, while smartphones – with the aid of their more capable operating systems and greater computing power – have provided opportunities to access the Internet, navigate, record high-definition video, take high-resolution photographs, share media, play video games and more. Today, however, the distinction between these two classes of products is blurring. Increasingly, basic feature phone models, supported by innovations in both hardware and software, are also providing people with the opportunity to access the Internet and applications and, on the whole, offering them a more smartphone-like experience.

Whether smartphones or feature phones, mobile devices geared for Internet access and their accompanying Internet data plans are also becoming increasingly affordable and, consequently, they are becoming attractive to a broader range of consumer groups and geographic markets. A notable recent development has been the increased affordability of devices based on the Android platform, which has enabled some vendors to offer smartphones for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been dominated by more basic feature phone offerings. While developed and controlled by Google, Android is made available to others free of charge and a significant part of the source code is available as open source software, which has made entry and expansion in the smartphone market easier for a number of hardware manufacturers which have chosen to join Android’s ecosystem. Users of Android-based devices can access and download applications from the Android Market application store run by Google, so many companies deploying Android have focused their software development efforts around a few elements of the user interface they have the ability to shape as well as focused on exploring new hardware form factors, such as tablets, as they seek to differentiate their offering from that of their competitors also using Android, as well as that of competitors using alternative operating systems, including Nokia. However, in general, we believe product differentiation for Android-based products is challenging, leading to increased commoditization of those devices. We also believe that there is increasing fragmentation in the Android ecosystem, meaning that increasing custom versions of the software could weaken interoperability of applications within that ecosystem.

In the feature phone market, other ecosystems have emerged, including that based around Nokia’s own Series 40 feature phone operating system. A growing number of developers are writing Java-based applications for Series 40 which, together with applications and content for Nokia’s Symbian and MeeGo devices, are available through Nokia Store. Another ecosystem is that based around mobile solutions chipsets from low-cost reference design chipset manufacturers which have enabled the very rapid and low-cost production of feature phones by numerous manufacturers in China and India, which are gaining significant market share in emerging markets, as well as bringing some locally relevant innovations to market.

Strategy

Mobile Phones

In Mobile Phones, we have renewed our strategy to focus on capturing volume and value growth by leveraging our innovation and strength in growth markets to provide people with an affordable Internet experience on their mobile device – in many cases, their first ever Internet experience with any computing device. Almost 90% of the world’s population lives within range of a mobile signal, yet there are around three billion people who do not own a mobile device. Of those who do own a mobile device, fewer than half use it to access the Internet for a number of reasons ranging from personal choice and affordability to the lack of an available Internet connection. We recognize that there is a significant opportunity to bring people everywhere affordable mobile products which enable simple and efficient web browsing, as well as give access to maps and other applications and innovations.

While the broader mobile devices market has often been characterized in terms of smartphones and feature phones, today, however, the distinction between these two classes of products is blurring. Supported by technological and design innovations, Nokia’s portfolio of feature phones has over time become smarter to the extent that today’s feature phone models are increasingly smartphone-like in the functionality and experiences they provide. In the fourth quarter of 2011, we launched the Asha range of Nokia feature phones, which offers access to the Internet, integrated social networking, messaging and access to applications from Nokia Store.

Mobile Phones has dedicated research and development teams addressing our short to medium-term needs in product and services development. During 2011, we made changes to our research and development operations for feature phones to reflect and support our new strategy, including ensuring that each research and development site has a clear focus and that there is greater co-location of our teams. The major Mobile Phones research and development sites for our feature phones are in Beijing in China, Oulu in Finland, and Ulm in Germany.

….

Competition

…  some competitors’ offerings based on Android are available for purchase by consumers for below EUR 100, excluding taxes and subsidies, and thus address a portion of the market which has been traditionally dominated by feature phone offerings, including those offered by Nokia. Accordingly, lower-priced smartphones are increasingly reducing the addressable market and lowering the price points for feature phone

In general, we believe product differentiation with Android is more challenging, leading to increased commoditization of these devices and the resulting downward pressure on pricing.  …

We also face intense competition in feature phones where a different type of ecosystem from that of smartphones is emerging involving very low-cost components and manufacturing processes, with speed to market and attractive pricing being critical success factors. In particular, the availability of complete mobile solutions chipsets from low-cost reference design chipset manufacturers has lowered the barriers of market entry and enabled the very rapid and low-cost production of feature phones by numerous manufacturers in China and India, which are gaining significant market share in emerging markets, as well as bringing some locally relevant innovations to market. Such manufacturers have also demonstrated that they have significantly lower gross margin expectations than we do.

We also face competition from vendors of unlicensed and counterfeit products with manufacturing facilities primarily centered around certain locations in Asia and other emerging markets which produce inexpensive devices with sometimes low quality and limited after-sales services that take advantage of commercially-available free software and other free or low-cost components, software and content. In addition, we compete with non-branded feature phone manufacturers, including mobile network operators, which offer mobile devices under their own brand, as well as providers of specific hardware and software layers within products and services at the level of those layers rather than solely at the level of complete products and services and their combinations. In the future, we may face competition from established Internet companies seeking to offer smartphones under their own brand.

Principal Factors & Trends Affecting our Results of Operations

Devices & Service

Increased Pervasiveness of Smartphones and Smartphone-like Experiences Across the Price Spectrum

During the past year, we saw the increasing availability of more affordable smartphones, particularly Android-based smartphones, connected devices and related services which were able to reach lower price points contributing to a decline in the average selling prices of smartphones in our industry.

This trend affects us in two ways. First, it puts pressure on the price of our smartphones and potentially our profitability, as we need to price our smartphones competitively. We currently partially address this with our Symbian device offering in specific regions and distribution channels, and we plan to introduce and bring to markets new and more affordable Nokia products with Windows Phone in 2012, such as the Nokia Lumia 610 announced in February 2012. Second, lower-priced smartphones put pressure on our higher-end feature phone offering from our Mobile Phones unit. We are addressing this with our planned introductions in 2012 of smarter, competitively priced feature phones with more modern user experiences, including software, services and application experiences. In support of our Mobile Phones business, we also plan to drive third party innovation through working with our partners to engage in building strong, local ecosystems.

There’s something about Mary… [Conversations by Nokia, Jan 3, 2012]

Mary McDowell has what might be quaintly called Midwestern values. That’s usually a mixture of what people like most about Americans, including friendliness, honesty, hard work – and not getting too big for your britches.

As Nokia’s Executive Vice President in charge of Mobile Phones she’s been responsible for transforming a core division of the company into a remarkable success story, and leading her team through some tough discussions and decisions:

“One of the tests of a leader is whether you can give enough space to give smart people to be creative and to drive things – and not have it be all about yourself.

I like to have diverse teams with different mindsets, and I like to have robust and challenging conversations because that’s how you get to the heart of issues.”

Last year, while media attention focused on the launch of the new Nokia Lumia phones, McDowell was laying the groundwork for the expansion of Nokia’s next billion strategy.

A major part of McDowell’s strategy has been moving away from the idea that Series 40 devices were a “low-end business cash cow” towards smarter, aspirational, phones for everyone:

“We’ve planted the seeds for Series 40. These are not the dumb phones…they are as smart as possible. In reality, the distinction between a smart phone and a feature phone is fairly technical, and when a consumer thinks about a smart phone they think about accessing the internet, downloading apps, a nice display… and these are all things we can, and do, deliver with Series 40,” says McDowell.

If Nokia was somewhat slow to appreciate the demands for Dual SIM, McDowell rectified this – and boosted market share – by introducing a wide range of Dual SIM phones with added features like Easy Swap that means people can swap SIM cards without turning off their handset.

Understanding the importance of Dual SIM came about, partly, by going out into the field and listening to consumers. She understands that, “it’s all very well making decisions in headquarters, but when you’re really talking with someone it sticks with you.”

mary mcdowell sitting

Last year, McDowell visited all five continents and took all her managers to India. In the first three months of 2012 she is due to visit China, Russia and Vietnam. These trips, and in-depth research, have had a profound impact on Nokia’s mobile phone unit:

“Look at the Asha 200, McDowell says. “Those came about because we spent time in Jakarta – and they were telling us ‘This region is mad for qwerty – everyone texts and IMs’. So they said, ‘What can you do that makes something colourful and compelling that responds to this need?’ These phones were really designed with those guys in mind….”

Research in India led to the development of loud speakers for better music performance, while meeting a beautician in Nairobi confirmed McDowell’s belief in in the importance of social networking and internet access for everyone:

“She told me she had 1,000 friends on Facebook. I thought, oh ok – I only have about 200. But it’s such an important part of how they live their lives, it’s how they connect – they have no access to computers, phones are their life line.”

Providing those services in an affordable and accessible way for people in growing markets is a key part of what makes Nokia different, and gives added value beyond the phones themselves:

“We’re ramping up the Nokia Browser, which provides great data compression. We’re hoping to do even more with that capabilitybecause the cost saving and access it can bring to consumers is huge.”

Nokia Browser compresses and downloads information from the internet by up to 90%, making it a highly cost-effective option for people in developing markets.

“We’re also ramping up Life Tools, and what started as focused on rural markets is now going to be focused on urban markets as well.”

Nokia Browser, Life Tools and Maps for Series 40 have become hugely popular, with Nokia Browser becoming the fastest growing Nokia service ever and Series 40 products accounting for a third of downloads from the Nokia Store (up from 13% in January 2011)

“One of the things were looking at is how do we embed ourselves more with partners, how do we support local internet services – and is there more we could do to tap into local tastes and preferences. We’ve been doing a lot of work to make applications supported better on Series 40.”

You’ll be able to get Facebook and other global services, she says, but in addition, “There are things that are peculiar to local markets, and were looking at how that to give that to people.”

As a member of the Nokia Board since 2004, McDowell is passionate about this emphasis on product.

“It’s been quite a journey,” she admits, “but I think it’s been very healthy in terms of distilling things down to the business essence. Nokia got so consumed with process and detail that we lost sight of products, and the process became the product and so if you ticked all the boxes that was a job well done, even if it wasn’t that great.

“Now what matters is what we create, and I think that’s really the right focus.”

Nokia’s next billion: Antti Vasara looks to the future for Series 40 [Conversations by Nokia, Jan 26, 2012]

GLOBAL – Nokia is celebrating selling 1.5 billion phonesby looking to the future.

Antti Vasara

“It’s a fun number,” said Antti Vasara, Nokia’s Senior Vice President of Mobile Devices, “and when you start thinking about the impact of 1.5 billion it’s a pretty awesome achievement.”

After the toasts were finished, however, Vasara went back to work on how Series 40 could connect another billion people to mobile technology and the internet:

What we are trying to do is a radical thing. We sometimes forget that half the world’s population does not have a phone. So, celebrating 1.5 billion is great, but it’s backward looking. What we want to say is – we are only half way to where we are going.”

A dozen Series 40 and Series 30 phones are sold every second around the world, and 3.5 million apps are downloaded every day.

“For a lot of people Series 40 is the first time they’ve ever had access to the internet or a computer. And the story of connecting those people is a huge story, because it will change the world.”

Series 40 began in the late 1990s in flagship devices [first was the Nokia 7110, developed in 1999], sold at fairly high prices to western customers, Vasara said. That has now been transformed into a range that is now selling in huge numbers in high growth economies, at a fraction of the cost.

“The people who buy these phones – and who will be buying these phones – are ambitious, and very aware of technology. They’re young, urban and what we call ‘hyper-social’. In other words, they know what the best of the best is – and we have to deliver a product that is state of the art and affordable.”

 the amazing Asha

The Nokia Browser exemplifies Nokia’s drive to build smarter phones for everyone, in Vasara’s opinion.

“In Europe and the US we download data without thinking very much about the cost, but in growing economies it is a huge issue. With the Nokia Browser you can get a full internet experience, with very clever cloud compression technology to make that experience affordable.”

Vasara, and his team, have also been concentrating on making Series 40 feel like “phones that are speaking your language.”

The future of Series 40 will be more about the services that you want in your “neighbourhood” – in your own language, delivering information that “feels very local.” Part of that will be working with developers to develop more Series 40 apps.

Even though selling 1.5 billion Series 40 phones is a wonderful milestone, it is the development of the platform and the product that gives Antti Vasara a sense of achievement:

“My proudest moment was actually producing the first Dual SIM device,” he says. “We were getting a lot of heat about it, and it was a huge priority – but the timing was so tight and we had many moments when we thought we couldn’t make it. But we did – on time and with great quality. Now that was a milestone for Series 40.”

Comments

Vikas Patidar

I don’t know why Nokia is touting the the words phones for “Next Billion” people for using internet when this all phones are not able to play videos from internet compared to same old devices which are doing far better job.

I just want know the genuine answers from Antti Vasara that is Nokia is making superior products compared to older generation devices?

Antti Vasara

Vikas,
Good points! You are listing some of the things that we indeed plan on fixing.

Making affordable phones that give smartphone-LIKE experiences involves making sometimes even painful trade-offs between different features and cost. We can do anything but not everything at the same timethat’s the essence of product making.

What we offer in the current Nokia Asha products is a nice combo of applications, Internet experience and contemporary services. Through our Store, people all over the world are downloading more than 3.5 million apps per day. We have put lot of emphasis on providing locally relevant apps so that you can find what is meaningful in your part of the world.

However, we also have some of the global phenomenons like Angry Birds available on Asha as well. On the Internet experience side we are very proud of the Nokia Browser. It gives people access to the full web yet doing that in a cost-effective way. The browser can compress data traffic by upto 90% ensuring that your phone bill doesn’t explode. And the specific services we offer like Facebook, Twitter, QQ, Foursquare, Maps, email, etc. give people the tools that most of us are using on a regular basis.

We hear you loud and clear on your request for more. Rest assured that we are working very hard to bring many new experiences and cool stuff to Asha throughout this year!

The SoCs

Nokia reportedly to release 2.5G, 2.75G chip orders to Taiwan firms [Feb 14, 2012]

Nokia reportedly has begun design-in with Taiwan-based MediaTek and MStar Semiconductor for chipset solutions used in 2.5G and 2.75G handsets, with one or both of them expected to land orders for the vendor’s new models scheduled for launch in the second half of 2012, according to industry sources.

In response, MediaTek and MStar both said they are constantly contacted by contract makers of the international vendor, without elaborating further.

Nokia is actively seeking chip partners who can help significantly lower its production costs, the sources pointed out. Both MediaTek and MStar, which specialize in the design and development of low-cost handset solutions, and have expertise in making end products differentiated from others, are pinpointed as Nokia’s new potential partners.

MediaTek and MStar had been approached by Nokia since 2010, but failed to work out ways to cooperate due to the low ROI considered by both IC firms, the sources indicated. Nokia had previously requested the two chip firms to develop software and firmware solutions for its operating system, while requiring very low quotes from them.

The sources identify MediaTek as the most likely supplier for Nokia’s upcoming models. MediaTek has thus far shipped more than one billion chip solutions for 2.5G and 2.75G devices, and can better utilize its existing well-built distribution channels in China and other emerging markets as well as sufficient R&D resources, the sources said.

China market: Chip demand for 2.5G/2.75G handsets falling [Feb 1, 2012]

Demand for 2.5G and 2.75G handset solutions is falling in China due to growth in the penetration rates for 3G and smartphones in the region, according to sources at white-box handset companies. Thanks to subsidies offered by local telecom carriers, sales of 3G models in China have grown substantially, the sources said.

Sources at Taiwan-based IC designers which mostly target China’s white-box handset suppliers have also indicated that many customers decide to promote 3G phones by discontinuing development projects for 2.5G/2.75G models ahead of schedule. Reducing orders for feature phones are likely to affect their sales performance during the first quarter of 2012.

Companies that might see impact from the fall in 2.5G/2.75G handset demand include MediaTek, MStar Semiconductor, Sitronix Technology, ILI Technology and Novatek Microelectronics, industry sources in Taiwan said. The firms’ revenues are expected to register sequential decreases of 5-15% in the first quarter of 2012, according to the sources.

Despite the shrinking feature phone market in China, Africa, Eastern Europe, Middle East and South America have been identified as the major markets for 2.5G/2.75G handsets in 2012, the sources pointed out.

MediaTek posts over 30% sales drop in January [Feb 6, 2012]

Fabless IC firm MediaTek has announced consolidated revenues of NT$5.16 billion (US$174 million) for January 2012, down 30.9% on month and 31.5% on year. The figure also hit the lowest monthly level since February 2011.

MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-chiang said at the company’s recent investors meeting that first-quarter sales would be affected by slow demand for feature phonesas well as fewer working days and seasonality. However, Hsieh expressed optimism about the company’s smartphone-chip shipments during the first quarter.

MediaTek has guided consolidated sales would be between NT$19.2 billion and NT$20.4 billion in the first quarter, down 10-15% on quarter.

MediaTek sees 10-15% sequential drop in 1Q12 sales [Feb 4, 2012]

IC design house MediaTek expects its consolidated revenues to decrease 10-15% sequentially in the first quarter of 2012 with gross margin slipping to 42-44% from 44.2% in the fourth quarter. A continued slowdown in feature phone demand as well as fewer working days and seasonality will cause the sales drop during the quarter, according to company president Hsieh Ching-chiang.

MediaTek’s consolidated revenues for the fourth quarter of 2011 slid 3.2% on quarter to NT$22.63 billion (US$768.5 million), slightly below its targeted NT$22.9-24.5 billion. The company attributed the sequential drop to low seasonal demand. Net profits for the quarter declined 28.3% sequentially to NT$2.92 billion, or NT$2.64 a share compared to NT$3.69 in the prior quarter.

Demand for 2.5G handset chips and other solutions used in TV, optical storage, and DVD and Blu-ray disc products will be slow during the off-season, MediaTek pointed out. In the fourth quarter, sales of handset chips accounted for 60-65% of company revenues while those of other non-handset use product lines made up the remainder.

However, sales of MediaTek’s smartphone 3G chips will climb to 8-10 million units in the first quarter, up more than 10% from the six million shipped in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company projects its total smartphone-chip shipments will top 50 million units in 2012, compared to about 10 million units in 2011.

Meanwhile, MediaTek expects its 2.5G chip shipments to stay similar to the level of about 550 million units in 2011.

MStar breaks into Nokia supply chain, says report [Feb 8, 2012]

IC design house MStar Semiconductor reportedly has entered the supply chain of Nokia with its 2G baseband chips, according to a Chinese-language Commercial Times report. Shipments are expected to kick off as early as mid-2012, said the report, without citing its sources.

Nokia demands about 100 million 2G handset solutions per year, the report indicated. Orders from the handset vendor will significantly boost MStar’s sales generated from its handset-chip business, which currently accounts for less than 10% of company revenues, the report said.

MStar shares rose 3.4% to close at NT$197 (US$6.68) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on February 7. The price continued its rally to US$203 during the morning session of February 8.

MStar sees 8-13% sales drop in 1Q12 [Feb 10, 2012]

MStar Semiconductor expects its consolidated revenues to decrease 8-13% sequentially in the first quarter of 2012, citing low seasonal demand. But sales for all of the year should see another positive growth driven by brisk shipments to the TV and wireless sectors, according to company chairman Wayne Liang.

MStar generated consolidated revenues of NT$9.8 billion (US$325 million) in the fourth quarter of 2011, up 5.1% on month and 20.6% from a year ago. Net profits for the quarter grew 2.8% sequentially and 6% on year to NT$1.66 billion. EPS for the quarter came to NT$3.14.

MStar’s consolidated sales for all of 2011grew 6.2%, while fellow company MediaTek posted a sales drop of 23.5% on year. MStar saw its net profits slip 4.8% from a year earlier while net profits at MediaTek registered a larger 56% decline from 2010 levels.

MStar is looking to grab a larger share of the global TV chip market in 2012, said Liang, adding that it held a 55-56% share in 2011 with shipments reaching 128 million units. Though the worldwide flat-panel TV market for 2012 will enjoy a slower growth of less than 10%, the number of TV chip suppliers is expected to reduce allowing MStar to further maintain its leading position, Liang stated.

MStar disclosed that sales of TV chips accounted for 65-70% of company revenues in 2011, followed by handset products with 10-15%.

Handset chips played as the fast-growing product line for MStar in 2011, Liang noted. The company shipped a total of 50 million handset solutions in 2011, which should have boosted its 2G market share to 15%, according to Liang.

MStar is gearing up for mass production of its 3G solutions for smartphones in the second half of 2012, Liang said. With the China market set to enter its transition to 3G in 2012, MStar’s handset chip business will continue to expand, Liang added.

In addition, MStar expects to receive increasing orders for set-top box (STB) chips in 2012, thanks to growing demand in emerging markets, according to Liang.

The web software

Nokia sharpens focus to connect next billion to the Internet [Nokia press release, Sept 15, 2010]


Ovi Mail

Ovi Browser in Beta
Through its recent acquisition of Novarra, Nokia brings new browser technology and the power of cloud services to Series 40, enabling more Internet users in emerging markets to get more out of what the Web has to offer. Ovi Browser is now in beta release and makes Series 40 browsing faster, more affordable, easier to use, and more personalized.

Ovi Music

Ovi Store on Series 40

Nokia completes acquisition of Novarra [Nokia press release, April 9, 2010]

Espoo, Finland – Nokia today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Novarra, Inc., initially announced on March 26, 2010.

Novarra’s mobile browser and services platform will be used by Nokia to deliver enhanced Internet experiences on Nokia Series 40 mobile phones.

Nokia acquires Novarra [Nokia press release, March 26, 2010]

Browser service technology will provide improved mobile web experience on mainstream mobile phones

Espoo, Finland – Nokia today announced it has signed an agreement to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Novarra, Inc., a privately-held company based in Chicago, IL. Novarra is a provider of a mobile browser and service platform and has more than 100 employees. Novarra’s mobile browser and services platform will be used by Nokia to deliver enhanced Internet experiences on Nokia mobile devices. Novarra has deployed their solution with leading mobile operator and internet services customers globally.

Connecting the next billion consumers to the Internet will happen primarily on mobile devices,” said Niklas Savander, Executive Vice President, Services, Nokia, “and delivering an optimized internet experience on our devices is core to our mission. By driving innovation in all segments of our portfolio, we are building one of the largest consumer audiences for web services and content. Novarra’s Internet services technology delivered on the world’s most widely-used mobile platform, Nokia’s Series 40, will help us achieve this.”

Nokia expects a new service offering utilizing the Novarra technology platform to be available later this year. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2010, and is subject to the customary closing conditions, including regulatory reviews. Following the acquisition, Novarra will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nokia.

About Nokia
At Nokia, we are committed to connecting people. We combine advanced technology with personalized services that enable people to stay close to what matters to them. Every day, more than 1.2 billion people connect to one another with a Nokia device – from mobile phones to advanced smartphones and high-performance mobile computers. Today, Nokia is integrating its devices with innovative services through Ovi (www.ovi.com), including music, maps, apps, email and more. Nokia’s NAVTEQ is a leader in comprehensive digital mapping and navigation services, while Nokia Siemens Networks provides equipment, services and solutions for communications networks globally.

About Novarra
Novarra, the Internet Mobility company, provides high performance mobile internet browsers and platforms for operators, handset manufacturers and internet brands to create new services and revenue streams for smartphones, features phones and mobile broadband devices. The solutions deliver a high quality mobile user experience for services including full rich web browsing, search, widgets, apps, video and advertising. Global, commercial deployments over eight years have proven consumer satisfaction, uptake and increased data service revenues. http://www.novarra.com/

Novarra Inc. [Wikipedia article, exerpted on Feb 14, 2012]

Novarra is a mobile internet software company founded in 2000 and based in Itasca, IL, USA.

Mobile internet access services based upon the Novarra Vision mobile internet and multimedia platform have been deployed in the US, Europe and Asia by service providers including Yahoo, Vodafone, Verizon Wireless, Turkcell, Hutchison 3G, Sprint Nextel, US Cellular and others on mobile phones, smartphones and PDAs from Nokia, LG Group, Samsung Mobile, Motorola Mobile Devices, Palm (PDA), Research In Motion, ZTE Corporation, Sony Ericsson, Kyocera Wireless, and other manufacturers.

How Nokia Turbocharges Web Browsing on Its Phones [PC Magazine, Oct 26, 2011]

LONDON—Amazon Silk? Opera Mini? Pshaw, says Nokia’s Randy Cavaiani. We’ve been doing that for years.

Amazon Silk is effectively the technology we’ve had for a couple of years now,” said Cavaiani, the director of market solutions for Nokia Browser Services. “And we can more closely couple the experience to hardware.”

Cavaiani is talking about technology Nokia bought from his former firm, Novarra, and is now using in the browsers of the company’s four new Series 40 (S40) Asha phones. The new S40 browser, like Silk and Opera Mini, is a proxy browser: it uses servers around the world to download content and compress it before the content gets sent to your phone.

That results in up to a 90 percent reduction in data usage and much faster page loads, especially over slow networks, Cavaiani said. What’s more, Nokia could bring the technology to its Windows Phones, too—though Cavaiani made sure to note that the company isn’t currently working on doing so. That could make Nokia Windows Phones faster at Web browsing on slow networks, like Sprint’s currently struggling 3G network.

“It’s technically possible, because our server can assist any native browser,” he said.

How Nokia’s Browser Works
Nokia’s approach is a bit different from both Opera’s and Amazon’s. Opera’s servers ingest entire Web pages and send them to phones as static documents in Opera’s own markup language, OBML.v

From what we know of Amazon Silk, the browser on Amazon’s as-yet-unreleased Kindle Fire tablet, it combines a full browser on the Fire with algorithms that pre-fetch pages on Amazon’s cloud servers, and also compresses images and stores them at Amazon.

Nokia’s new browser starts with a basic HTML browser on the Series 40 phones. Nokia’s servers look at desktop Web pages and boil down or remove more complex content, for instance parsing and executing JavaScript and resolving CSS into more basic HTML, Cavaiani said. They also reduce the quality (and the size) of images. There’s no Flash support.

The browser is able to handle dynamic pages that only reload part of the page at a time when the user presses a button. The browser also has deep access to the phone’s hardware, which is different from Opera Mini.

“We can also inject services into the browser. The latest browser introduces a geo-location API, so now that’s open to developers to create geo-location apps,” he said.

The browser even supports widgets, dynamic overlays that can perform actions on Web pages like sharing them on Twitter or translating them into a different language.

Brilliant browsing on the new Nokia Asha [Conversations by Nokia, Nov 21, 2011]

Nokia Browser for Series 40 is the engine behind an improved internet experience on Nokia’s new Asha 200, 201, 300 and 303 mobile phones announced October 2011. The Browser uses cloud technology to speed page loads, reduce data transfer while providing access to more and richer web pages and web apps. Consumers in emerging markets can stay connected using Nokia Browser on Asha phones, sharing on social networks and enjoying videos and other media. Learn more at http://browser.nokia.com/Series40

GLOBALGood news for anyone planning to surf the Web using the brand new Nokia Asha phones for Series 40 – they’ve been designed to give you a better all-round internet experience with more of what you want, faster and cheaper.

Nokia have designed the new Asha family specifically for people in emerging markets where expensive and time consuming downloading has been limiting everyone’s internet use for years. For many, the phones will provide their owners with their only access to the Internet.

We know people want to get online fast, whether you’re looking for a shoe store in Caracas, meeting a friend in Mumbai or checking out your friend’s baby pictures from Taiwan.

The Nokia Browser uses cloud-based servers with high speed internet connections to collect the data and then transform it to the best version for a mobile phone, compressing the data by up to 90%.

But what you really need to know is that it will take seconds, not minutes, to check out what your friends are doing on social networking, and start sharing links, photos and videos. While you’re online the browser will show you how much data is being used, so there shouldn’t be any nasty shocks when your bill arrives. Then you can save your money for the things you’d really like to spend it on (like the shoes).

Nokia Asha phones with browser

Getting online is important, but so is what you see when you get there. No one wants to look at an anonymous landing page or – even worse – a homepage from a country you’ve never been to.

The new Nokia Browser comes in 87 different languagesand, wherever you are in the world, you’ll see the news and content that’s relevant to you.

These Asha phones are “smart”.Web sites and web apps that might not otherwise be accessible are easy and enjoyable to use on Asha. And for many web content providers, web apps provide an even more elegant experience using swipe touch gestures for fluid page transitions and enhanced with location, SMS or social sharing functionality made possible by the browser’s cloud architecture.

Using the new full-screen mode you won’t be squinting at it on a tiny screen, either. You can get rid of background information, like the browser button control bar, and add some extra mm to your screen size – and on a mobile phone that’s going to make being online feel a whole lot better.

The Nokia Browser is available on the Asha phones, and up to 40 of the Series 40 phones. You can find out which ones on the product pages.

Now everyone can have a fuller, faster – and more affordable – internet experience.

Nokia Maps on Series 40 [Conversations by Nokia, Nov 8, 2011]

Nokia maps on a Nokia Asha 303
GLOBAL – Do you want to go shopping in Warsaw, meet a friend in Jakarta or find the nearest basketball court in Beijing? Or do you just want to show your friends your route home? Nokia Maps on the Series 40, including the new Nokia Asha 303, brings together all of the experiences you need for your life – and it’s preloaded and free.

Millions of us are out and about around the world – and we want more than a simple route, we want a full experience.

Nokia Maps on the Series 40 has a global range, aimed at local needs – and that’s why it brings free maps covering more than 180 countries, and free turn-by-turn visual routing in more than 100 countries.

Using the maps on the new Asha 303 you can find more than 3 million offline points of interest including tourist information centres, sights and museums, restaurants, hotels and shopping.

There’s no GPS: The service is specifically designed to use network-based positioning, and offers a lot of features offline to save on data costs and downloading. You can look at a map, or plan your route, offline as the map data is stored on the device itself.

Even if you want to go online, we’ve chosen the lowest cost options: The average cost of using the positioning service is the equivalent of sending a standard SMS in India.

Maps of your country and region come already loaded, so there’s no need to spend time installing. If you’re planning to go abroad you can add extra maps of the world through Nokia Suite – it’s free, and easy.

That’s one of the best things about Nokia Maps: It’s not just about finding out where you are, it’s about giving millions more people the opportunity to discover the world, and share locations with friends and family.

We’ve covered 31 million km of roads, and 73 million points of interest – giving Series 40 users exactly the same level of coverage as smartphone users.

Let’s just say, we don’t think you’re going to miss much.

Series 40 web apps: UI Improvements [nokiadevforum, Dec 2, 2012]

Houman Forood, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Nokia provides a guide to the UI improvements that have been introduced in the latest Series 40 web apps environment. You will see many improvements since the initial release. Houman also explains that new UI guidelines are available to assist you in designing web apps for Nokia Series 40 phones.

Series 40 web apps technical how to: Geolocation & Maps from Nokia Developer [nokiadevforum, Feb 2, 2012]

The Nokia development team shares technical tips on coding interactive map and geolocation services for the Series 40 platform. Using the Nokia web tools development environment, Andrew Knight gives you a quick and informative look at the map-based application possibilities available to you when developing for Nokia Series 40 phones, including the new Asha range. Learn more here: http://developer.nokia.com/Develop/Maps/

NOKIA Developer > Develop > Highlights > Web experiences for Series 40 are now even better [Nov 2, 2011]

Nokia Browser for Series 40 has been updated, with several new features that will enable you to offer even richer experiences to users of Series 40 phones, on even the lowest bandwidth connections.

Your web apps can now determine the location [HTML5 Geolocation] of their user’s phone and you can offer users the ability to send SMS messages directly from your apps. Performance is improved too: images within your web app are cached on the user’s phone making for faster loading and refreshing of content.

To complement these new web apps features Nokia Web Tools has been updated too. Now you can simulate location while testing web apps on a computer and resolve code issues faster using the newly enabled debugging features of the integrated Web Inspector.

Once you’ve created a web app that differentiates your web content and offers great user engagement, it can be distributed through Nokia Store, exposing it to millions of Series 40 Nokia Store users.

Find out more about Series 40 web apps ›
Traditionally, proxy-based browsing has offered users a very limited experience, because such browsers typically do nothing more than paint content provided by a proxy. This has changed, with Nokia Browser for Series 40 support for Series 40 web apps. Using Mobile Web Library, the Nokia Browser for Series 40 client can execute JavaScript code in web apps. This code makes it possible to create interactive user interfaces and graphical transitions to deliver users beautiful web experiences. Now web designers and developers can deliver compelling application experiences to users at low cost — both in terms of development effort and user data charges.

With the latest version of the Series 40 browser, Series 40 web apps can now go even further by offering users location aware web apps and the ability to send SMS messages. Location features leverage the network-based location capabilities of Series 40 phones for accurate and timely location information. In addition, performance has been enhanced further with images embedded in a web app now cached on the user’s phone for faster page loads and refreshes. ”
Discover the new features in Nokia Web Tools ›
Find out more about distributing through Nokia Store ›
Find out more about Nokia Browser for Series 40 ›

http://browser.nokia.com/s40-browser.html  [Aug 12, 2011]
Nokia Browser for Smartphones & Mobile phones

….

Discover the world of apps
Discover the world of apps
Web apps are small games and applications that you can purchase, or download for free using Ovi Store on your mobile phone. With web apps you can access content from well-known global brands, or the local brands you know and love. Once downloaded, apps are permanently saved within Nokia Browser, so they’re always easy to find and super fast to load. And because web apps are specially optimised for your phone, they provide a beautifully clear and simple way to access your favourite content.

Works great on any deviceWorks great on any device

Nokia Browser has been designed to work brilliantly on both touchscreen and traditional keypad mobile phones. Browse with ease using the large, responsive touch screen controls, and enjoy intuitive, lightening fast navigation and scrolling on keypad devices.

Fast and easy to useFast and easy to use
Search for content or enter Web addresses right from the start page. As you type, the predictive input technologywill provide a list of recently input keywords and URLs, enabling you to type less, and load your content even faster.

If your favourite site isn’t optimised for mobile, Nokia Browser’s smart rendering technology will create a thumbnail overview of each page, enabling you to quickly scan pages on even the most complex web sites. To zoom in, simple tap the content you want to read.

Senior Software Engineer – Java-SWA0000004P [Careers at Nokia, Jan 20, 2012]Software Engineer – Java-SWA00000048 [Careers at Nokia, Jan 21, 2012]

Nokia is a pioneer in mobile telecommunications and the world’s leading maker of mobile devices. Today, we are at the forefront of the mobile internet revolution, fusing advanced mobile technology with personalized services to enable people to stay close to what matters to them.

  • Want to have an immediate impact on a billion people?
  • Interested in creating software for the most widely used mobile phone platform in the world?
  • Widgets, Apps, Social Networking, E-mail, Maps, Video, Browsing on Mobile Phones – we make it possible!

This team at Nokia has enabled millions of mobile phone users worldwide to perform their favorite activities on the web. As part of our plan to reach the next billion consumers, we need to expand our service offerings.

As a proven leader in providing high performance, next generation mobile internet solutions, this team within Nokia is seeking a Software Engineer with Java / C++ experience . You’ll work with highly motivated team members who possess a passion for excellence, developing innovative, creative solutions in a fast-paced environment. Our solutions need to exceed consumer expectations in order to provide the best-in-class possible internet experience in the market.

Responsibilities

  • Work in the Nokia Browser [Novarra] team creating the browsing experience for millions of Nokia S40 devices
  • Be on a team chartered with enabling and growing a mobile app ecosystemfor millions of worldwide users and developers
  • Research, design, and implement complex software solutions
  • Be on the leading edge of integrating internet technologies, cell phones, and wireless networks
  • Be a part of the team creating the next generation user experiencefor cell phones
  • Work with Nokia development teams around the world to extend mobile phone services
  • Utilize location based services and cloud services in your solutions

Qualifications

Required:

  • Java or C++ development experience
  • Experience with internet technologies (ie. web services, HTML, XML, CSS, AJAX, JavaScript, HTTP, xHTML, DHTML, etc.)
  • Ability to be deep and thorough with product code to optimize performance
  • Proven experience writing software for large scale deployments
  • Possess excellent verbal and written English communication skills
  • Minimum 2 years work development experience
  • BS / MS in Computer Science or Computer Engineering

Desirable:

  • Mobile device development background a plus
  • Agile methodology experience a plus
  • Experience creating Web Apps
  • Experience with IDEs and SDKs
  • Interest in pushing the limits on mobile device software
  • Experience working through tradeoffs and constraints during Design and Planning phases

Job
Research & Development

Primary Location
US-Itasca [Novarra]

Organization
Mobile Phones

Schedule
Full-time

Intern Position at Nokia (Itasca, IL) [Careers at Nokia, Feb 8, 2012] [Novarra]

Nokia is seeking software engineering interns to work on a web platform for the Nokia Browser Services [Novarra] organization impacting future Nokia products. You will perform design, development and implementation of our web browser environments for Nokia mobile devices. Your work will be central to Nokia’s objective to connect the next billion to the web via handsets worldwide.

You will work with a team focused on innovation team to design, implement, and test novel solutions to complex problems in the rapidly evolving mobile industry. This role will require understanding an existing code base and leverage external web services from other Nokia divisions as well as 3rd party services. Creative thinking, technical flexibility and a passion for cutting edge web technologies are a must.

Responsibilities:
– Working in a prototype creation project with design, implementation and integration responsibilities
– Collaborating with software developers and design engineers to quickly deliver prototypes
– Work with internal and external APIs

Qualifications:
– Must be enrolled in current accredited graduate or undergraduate program within Computer Science or related field
– Working knowledge of web technologies HTML/JavaScript/CSS/XML
– Experience developing a web service with one or more of the following: Apache, Tomcat, PHP, JSP, Ruby on Rails, or a similar equivalent.
– Working knowledge of Unix operating systems
– Experience with mobile phone environments and application development a plus
– Academic experience with Java and other object oriented design languages
– Proven ability to work within and extend current technology
– Strong team player as well as ability to work independently

Desirable:
Good graphical skills, Adobe Photoshop experience a plus

Job
Research & Development

Primary Location
US-Itasca [Novarra]

Organization
Mobile Phones

Schedule
Part-time

China-based second-tier and white-boxed handset makers targeting the emerging markets

Update: China-based white-box vendors expected to ship 200 million smartphones [DIGITIMES, April 17, 2012]

China-based white-box vendors, mainly due to the availability of inexpensive new chip solutions, have been increasing the production of smartphones, with the total shipment volume expected to reach 200 million units in 2012, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

Taiwan-based MediaTek is offering the makers its MT6575 a chip solution for use in entry-level smartphones in the first quarter of 2012 and will offer the MT6577, a solution for high-level smartphones, in the middle of the third quarter of 2012, the sources indicated. MediaTek will ship 50-70 million chips to China-based white-box vendors to account for nearly 30% of smartphones to be shipped by these vendors in 2012.

In addition, Qualcomm has strengthened its marketing in the China market by offering turn-key solutions to white-box vendors, with prices for a chips lowered to US$6, the sources cited eMedia Asia as indicating.

China-based white-box vendors sell more than 60% of their smartphone output to overseas markets, including 2.5G models for markets where deployment of 3G networks is not mature yet, the sources indicated. White-box vendors are expected to see larger market demand if their production costs for entry-, medium- and high-level smartphones drop to US$60, US$85 and US$130 respectively, the sources pointed out.

China handset makers shifting to smartphones, pushing sales to emerging markets, say sources [Feb 13, 2012]

Demand for 2G feature phones in the China market is expected to subside in the next three years, pushing China-based handset makers to focus on the production of entry-level to mid-range smartphones and also to promote overseas sales, according to industry sources.

Sales of handsets in China grew by 10-15% on year to 260-280 million units in 2011, of which smartphones accounted for 70 million units.

However, total handset sales in the market are expected to drop to 240-250 million units in 2012, of which smartphone models will top 100-120 million units, increasing 43-70% from the previous year, said the sources, adding that handset sales are likely to remain flat in 2013-2014.

With a shrinking share in the 2G segment in the home market, China-based second-tier and white-boxed handset makers are strengthening their ties with retail chain operators or branded vendors in emerging markets, the sources noted.

China-based maker G’Five currently takes up the third-rank title in the India handset market with 7.5% share, trailing after Nokia’s 37.2% and Samsung’s 14.9%, according to data compiled by ABI.

Other brands in India, including Micromax, Spice, Karbonn, Maxx Mobile, Lava and Zen Mobile, have also maintained close ties with China-based handset makers, the sources added.

Earlier information on Micromax, Maxx, Lava and Videocon

(From: The precursor of 2012 smartphone war: Nokia Lumia vs. Samsung Omnia W in India[Jan 3, 2012])

India Handset Shipments, Vendor Market Share, Strategies and Key Trends Q3’2011 [Research and Markets report release announcement, Jan 4, 2012]

This report provides an in-depth assessment of handset shipments, vendor market share, strategies and key trends in Q3’2011 for the mobile handsets industry in India. Mobile handset shipments in India have been increasing and they were highest in 2010 with 146.93 million units. The shipments in 2011 are expected to reach all time high as the shipment for 3 quarters in 2011 is 125.32 million units. By the end of Q4’2011, a yearly figure of 162 million units is expected.

India has been one of the major players in the Asia Pacific handset shipments and since 2009 India has been able to capture more than 20% of the overall Asia Pacific shipments, with a market share of over There has been quarter on quarter growth in the handset shipments in India barring a few exceptions in two quarters.

Local manufacturing has been very beneficial for mobile handset makers in India and many Indian players are manufacturing the product locally. All the other players, who do not have the local manufacturing, are planning to start the manufacturing to get away with the problems of currency exchange rates and supply side spikes.

Nokia has been the top player in the Indian mobile handset market and it has achieved a market share of 29.44% in 2011 for all the three quarters. Nokia has been losing its share to new entrants and local players in the Indian market. Samsung is coming strongly and it is in the second place with 14.34% market share. The share of Samsung is up by 14.63% from 2010. Though all the players are trying to gain market share but still Nokia is way above all of them and it will take a long time before anyone else can take the lead position. Local players Micromax, Maxx, Lava and Videocon are gaining market share and most of them have launched low cost phones with features such as dual-SIM, long battery life etc. Local players also have the advantage of local manufacturing.

Earlier information on G’Five

(From: Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple![Feb 21, 2011])

So ZTE and Huawei are not alone. Here is another example, G’Fiveso far known only in India but expanding rapidly both in India and into the other parts of the world:

India Mobile Handset shipments grow 6.7%, to 101 million units in 12 Months ending June 2009 [IDC India, Oct 9, 2009]

Market intelligence firm, IDC’s India Quarterly Mobile Handsets Tracker, 2Q 2009, September 2009 release issued today states that in terms of units shipped Nokia had the largest share of 56.8%, followed by Samsung with a 7.7% share while LG stood third with a 5.4% share in the 12-month period ended June 2009.

New Vendors Make a Mark
A number of new vendors entered the India mobile handsets market in the last 12 to 18 months to carve a niche for themselves by offering feature-rich (dual SIM card, full QWERTY keyboard) and application-rich (IM enabled) mobile handsets at attractive price points. They also introduced entry-level models for the ‘price sensitive’ Indian consumer.

IDC’s India quarterly mobile handsets tracker 2Q 2010 [Sept 28, 2010] (some emphasis is mine):

According to Mr. Anirban Banerjee, Associate Vice President-Research, IDC India,“In the recent quarters several new players successfully launched their own devices at significantly lower Average Selling Values (ASVs) in the price sensitive India market. Such handsets found ready acceptance amongst first time buyers, especially from small towns and villages.”

This influx of new brands led to a spurt in overall market and saw ‘emerging vendors’ corner as much as 33.2% of total India mobile handset shipments in 2Q 2010. The Finnish handset maker Nokia retained its No.1 spot with a market share of 36.3% in terms of units shipped. The Korean electronic giant Samsung retained the No. 2 position, while Chinese brand G’Five emerged as the No. 3 player.

According to IDC’s India Quarterly Mobile Handsets Tracker, 2Q 2010, September 2010 release, the number of emerging vendors in India’s burgeoning mobile handsets market grew to 35 in 2Q 2010 and they together garnered 33.2% of total shipments for the first time during the April-June 2010 quarter. This represented a manifold increase from five (5) new vendors representing a 0.9% combined share of units shipped in the January-March 2008 quarter.

During the last 6 months (January-June 2010) the top five mobile handset vendors in India were Nokia, Samsung, G’Five, Micromax and Spice.

July-September 2010 mobile phone shipments (sales) log 3.6% quarter-on-quarter growth to
cross 40 million units: ‘Emerging Vendors’ capture 41.2% combined share [IDC India, Dec 29, 2010] (emphasis is mine):

… the Finnish handset maker Nokia had the largest share of 31.5%* in terms of units shipped during 3Q 2010.
The Chinese brand G’Five emerged as No. 2 player in terms of unit shipments market share and Korean handset manufacturer Samsung stood at No. 3 in 3Q 2010.

The India mobile handsets market continued to grow in 3Q 2010 as well to record a quarter-on-quarter (3Q 2010 over 2Q 2010) growth of 3.6%* to touch 40.08 million units in the quarter, according to IDC India. The year is expected to end with total mobile handset sales of 155.9 million units.

The number of emerging vendors in India’s burgeoning mobile handsets market grew to 68 and they together garnered 41.2%* of total shipments (sales) for the first time during the July-Sep 2010 quarter.

Smartphone prices continued to drop through the year and as competition increased, devices were made available by vendors at successively lower price points. So, while 80%* of total India smartphone sales were below the ASV (Average Sales Value) of Rs. 18,000 in 2Q 2010, this proportion increased to 90%* in 3Q 2010.

Top G’Five mobile phones in India [Jan 13, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Which are the top two cell phone brands today in India in terms of shipment volumes? Nokia and Samsung, many of us would like to think, right? Or maybe Sony…or LG…or Micromax which has been advertising quite a bit.

Not quite, folks. A recent report from leading market intelligence firm IDC India reaffirms the Finnish telecom giant’s status as the leading cell-phone player in the country, with Nokia accounting for 31.5% of the domestic cell-phone market during the July-September period last year. But, surprisingly, a little known Chinese brand called G’Five has made it to the second spot by capturing a 10.6% market share–with Samsung coming in third at 8.2%!

Sounds shocking, right? How can a Chinese player, without any big-ticket advertising campaign or any celebrity as its brand ambassador, manage to create such a big impact in the cut-throat Indian cell phone industry–without any fanfare? Well, the answer lies in G’Five’s strategy of rolling out a bevy of feature-rich phones at competitive prices (in the Rs.1,400-Rs.7,000 range), targeted exclusively at urban first-time buyers and those in semi-urban and rural areas looking to upgrade from basic phones.

So if you are looking to buy a G’Five mobile phone, here is a list of eight affordable (costing not more than Rs.5,000) models from around 26 G’Five phones currently available in India (in the order of ascending prices)– with each of them having their own USPs.

G’Five D10 Price: Rs.1,820 [US$40.4] … G’Five X5 Price: Rs.1,899 [US$42.1] … G’Five N92 Price: Rs.2,249 [US$49.9] … G’Five i310 Price: Rs. 2,400 [US$53.2] … G’Five M33 Price: Rs.2,499 [US$55.4] … G’Five L600 Price: Rs 2,700 [US$59.9] … G’Five X33+ Price: Rs.3,786 [US$83.9] … G’Five V60 Price: Rs. 4,490 [US$99.6] …

And these phones are not crap as you can even see from their pictures (for features info it is worth to go into the article).

G'Five D10 - i310 - V60

Note that to target the upper part of this range Social networking is Nokia’s latest mobile strategy [Feb 17, 2010] (which the above phones do not have):

The company’s latest launch on Nokia X2-01 mobile, at Rs 4,459 [US$99.2] is one such product. “QWERTY is one of the fastest growing mobile phone category in the world due to the rise in messaging and social networking. The Nokia X2-01 makes it easy to set up chat and email direct from the mobile phone,” said Nokia India General Manager-South T S Sridhar. “This means superfast access to your favourite Ovi Mail, Ovi Chat or other popular accounts.”

As young users want to stay connected with friends on the move, instant messaging is rapidly on the rise. With messaging devices like Nokia X2- 01, we are empowering the youth, he said. The handset also provides live updates from social networks such as Facebook, Orkut and Twitter directly from home screen. The Nokia X2-01 is Series 40 2G phone with VGA camera and FM radio. It has one click access the music player and has 3.5mm AV connector ideal for headphones or speakers. It also has Bluetooth and can support up to an 8GB micro SD memory card and has a standby battery time of up to 20 days, he claimed. For affordable access to internet, Nokia has also tied up with country’s largest mobile service provider Airtel which allows 100 mb of free data download per month for 12 months to its subscribers on this phone. Under this scheme one can access Face Book, and OVI Chat and Ovi Mail free of charges.

Gfive Mobile Phones (by Devika Rajpali)

The company of GFive is from China. The investors of the company are a syndicate named Zerone group that of the most esteemed OEM factories that boost of producing around 100 million mobile phones. The GFive mobile phones are the hottest running brand in indisputable imei china mobiles. The company has now established itself completely in the field of tech support, repairing and software installation. You will find the GFive mobile phone to be very stylish with large number of mobile phones to offer to its consumers. The company claims to have experience, confidence and data along with the in-depth insight of their Chinese mobile phones.

The KingTech Telecom (Shenzhen) Co Ltd. is behind the brand with KingTech Telecom (HK) Limited behind the export activities. As far as India is concerned the arrangement will be developed into a stronger local representation as Victor Infotech ties up with King Tech Telecom [Nov 11, 2010] (emphasis is mine):

Victor Infotech Ltd has tied up with King Tech Telecom Ltd (a Hong Kong-based telecom company) to form a joint venture company — Asian Telecom Ltd. The majority stake of 51% in the new company will be held by King Tech Telecom Ltd and the balance 49% equity will be held by Victor Infotech Ltd.

Asian Telecom Ltd., the new joint venture company, will come into being with immediate effect to launch the G’Five brand of mobile phones in the Indian market. The company plans to take the G’Five brand of mobiles to new heights in India and achieve 20% of the market share in the next two years.

As part of the collaboration, Kingtech Telecom shall manufacture the mobile phones and Victor Infotech will be responsible for distribution and marketing of the phone in India. Initially Kingtech Telecom will manufacture the Indian specific mobile phones in Hong Kong [rather in Shenzen] and gradually the same shall be manufactured in India.

The Indian mobile phone market is growing very fast. The company expects the sales of the mobile phones to grow 5 times in the next two years and plans to take advantage of this growth to gain the maximum market share. To achieve this, the company shall introduce many variations in its mobile phones, which shall be specific to the needs of the Indian consumer.

Meanwhile for other parts of the world a new sales and marketing operation has been set up: GLX mobile – G’FIVE Mobile’s Brother Company [Dec 14, 2010] (emphasis is mine)

A new member of Zerone Group called GLX mobile has been founded. With its full name as GLX International Limited, GLX mobile is dedicated in global distribution of GLX mobile phone.

Since G’FIVE is a member of Zerone Group, G’FIVE and GLX are brother companies. The new-founded GLX focuses on international markets, especially emerging markets. GLX mobile covers the whole range of mobile phone user market, from low-end to high-end with stylish and unique handsets.

GLX is aiming to create golden life for worldwide consumers with all ranges of mobile phones.

And the GLX company’s website indicates that it has taken over (almost all) the rest of the existing G’Five business network:

GLX Mobile initial business network

AMD 2012-13: a new Windows 8 strategy expanded with ultra low-power APUs for the tablets and fanless clients

AMD Strategy Transformation Brings Agile Delivery of Industry-Leading IP to the Market [AMD press release, Feb 2, 2012]

At its annual Financial Analyst Day, AMD (NYSE: AMD) detailed a new “ambidextrous” strategythat builds on the company’s long history of x86 and graphics innovation while embracing other technologies and intellectual property to deliver differentiated products.

AMD is adopting an SoC-centric roadmap designed to speed time-to-market, drive sustained execution, and enable the development of more tailored customer solutions. SoC design methodology is advantageous because it is a modular approach to processor design, leveraging best practice tools and microprocessor design flows with the ability to easily re-use IP and design blocksacross a range of products.

image“AMD’s strategy capitalizes on the convergence of technologies and devices that will define the next era of the industry,” said Rory Read, president and CEO, AMD. “The trends around consumerization, the Cloud and convergence will only grow stronger in the coming years. AMD has a unique opportunity to take advantage of this key industry inflection point.  We remain focused on continuing the work we began last year to re-position AMD.  Our new strategy will help AMD embrace the shifts occurring in the industry, marrying market needs with innovative technologies and become a consistent growth engine.”

Roadmap Updates Focus on Customer Needs

Additionally, AMD today announced updates to its product roadmaps for AMD Central Processing Unit (CPU) and Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) products it plans to introduce in 2012 and 2013. The roadmap modifications address key customer priorities across form factors including ultrathin notebooks, tablets, all-in-ones, desktops and servers with a clear focus on low power, emerging markets and the Cloud.

AMD’s updated product roadmap features second generationmainstream (“Trinity”) and low-power (“Brazos 2.0”) APUs for notebooks and desktops; “Hondo,” an APU specifically designed for tablets; new CPU cores in 2012 and 2013 with “Piledriver” and its successor “Steamroller,” as well as “Jaguar,” which is the successor to AMD’s popular “Bobcat” core. In 2012, AMD plans to introduce four new AMD Opteron™ processors. For a more in-depth look at AMD’s updated product roadmap, please visit http://blogs.amd.com.

Next-generation Architecture Standardizes and Facilitates Software Development

AMD also provided further details on its Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA), which enables software developers to easily program APUs by combining scalar processing on the CPU with parallel processing on the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU), all while providing high bandwidth access to memory at low power. AMD is proactively working to make HSA an open industry standard for the developer community. The company plans to hold its 2nd annual AMD Fusion Developer Summitin June, 2012.

New Company Structure Strengthens Execution

In conjunction with announcing its restructuring plan in November 2011, AMD has strengthened its leadership team with the additions of Mark Papermaster as senior vice president and chief technology officer, Rajan Naik as senior vice president and chief strategy officer, and Lisa Su as senior vice president and general manager, Global Business Units. These executives will help ensure that sustainable, dependable execution becomes a hallmark of AMD.

Supporting Resources

AMD started talking about ‘Trinity’ and ‘Hondo’ last summer. See in Acer repositioning for the post Wintel era starting with AMD Fusion APUs [June 17, 2011]


What AMD could definitely be proud of for 2011 is A “Brazos” Story: The Little Chip That Could (And Then Just Kept On Going) [AMD Fusion blog, Feb 1, 2012]:

In late 2010, AMD shipped its first-ever Accelerated Processing Units (APUs), internally codenamed “Brazos,”which combined the tremendous processing power of graphics and x86 on a single chip.

We had high expectations for the low-voltage “Brazos” APU: great computing, HD, long battery life and DirectX 11 capable graphics, all on a single chip. Yet still we were blown away by the initial industry reception. It was only a year ago we left CES with seven highly-sought after innovation and technology awardsfor the little product we ultimately named the C- and E-Series APUs, including:

After CES we should have re-nicknamed “Brazos” the “Little Chip That Could.” And all throughout 2011, “Brazos” kept on chugging. We added the “Best in Show” Award at Embedded Systems Conference and the “2011 Best Choice of Computex TAIPEI Award” to the list of accolades. In the second quarter we sold more than five million C- and E-Series APUs. What a tremendous start to a new way of processing for AMD and the industry.

But “Brazos” kept on impressing, showing up in a variety of form factorsnotebooks, netbooks, small desktops and all-in-ones– from top global OEM partners.

So it was no surprise or mistake that we ended 2011 with more than 30 million APUs shipped. It all started with little “Brazos,” which has now earned its place in history as AMD’s fastest ramping platform ever.

John Taylor, Director of Worldwide Product Marketing at AMD

CES 2012 Consumer Showcase Tour [amd, Jan 11, 2012]

Leslie Sobon of AMD talks about how APU’s help enhance your digital lifestyle in any room in of your home.
AMD Codename Decoder – November 9, 2010 [AMD Business blog]
APU
An APU is an accelerated processing unit, a new generation of processors that combine either low-power or high-performance x86 CPU cores with the latest GPU technology (such as DirectX® 11) on a single die.
Planned for introduction: Q1 2011
“Bobcat”
Market: Multiple devices, including notebooks ultrathins, HD netbooks and small form factor desktops.
What is it? A sub-one watt capable x86 CPU core that first comes to market in the “Ontario” and “Zacate” Accelerated Processing Units (APU) for mainstream, ultrathin, value, and netbook form factors as well as small form factor desktop solutions. “Bobcat” is designed to be an extremely small, highly flexible, out-of-order execution x86 core that easily can be scaled up and combined with other IP in SoC configurations.
Planned for introduction: Q1 2011
“Brazos”
Markets: Value Mainstream Notebooks, HD Netbooks and Small Form Factor Desktops
What is it? “Brazos” is AMD’s 2011 low-power platform, available with two APUs; “Zacate” – currently planned to be marketed as the E Series – is an 18-watt TDP APU for ultrathin, mainstream and value notebooks as well as desktops and all-in-ones. “Ontario” – currently planned to be marketed as the C Series – is a 9-watt
APU for netbooks and small form factor desktops and devices. Both “Brazos” platform APUs include a DirectX® 11-capable GPU.
Planned for introduction: Q1 2011
“Bulldozer”
Market: Server and Client
What is it? A multi-threaded high-performance x86 CPU core contained in the “Zambezi” processor for client PCs and “Interlagos” and “Valencia” processors for servers. Included in the “Scorpius” enthusiast desktop PC platform and “Maranello,” “Adelaide,” and “San Marino” server platforms, “Bulldozer” is designed to be a completely new, high performance architecture that employs a new approach to multithreaded compute performance for achieving advanced efficiency and throughput. “Bulldozer” is designed to give AMD an exceptional CPU option for linking with GPUs in highly scalable, single-chip APU configurations. “Bulldozer” offers AMD another exceptional CPU option for combining with GPUs in highly scalable, single chip APU configurations, beginning in 2012 APU designs.
Planned for introduction: Client (1H 2011); Server (2H 2011)
“Llano”
Market: Notebooks and Desktops
What is it? Part of the “Sabine” platform, “Llano” is a 32nm APU including up to four x86 cores and a DirectX® 11-capable GPU, primarily intended for performance and mainstream notebooks and mainstream desktops. “Llano” is engineered to deliver impressive visual computing experiences, outstanding performance with low power and long battery life.
Planned for introduction: Mid-2011
“Ontario”
Market: Primarily ultrathin notebooks and HD netbooks
What is it? A 9W APU featuring dual or single “Bobcat” x86 cores currently planned to be marketed as the C Series, and primarily intended to serve the low power and highly portable PC markets for netbooks and small form factor desktops and devices.
Planned for introduction: Q1 2011
“Zacate”
Market: Notebook/Desktop
What is it? “Zacate” is AMD’s 18W APU designed for the mainstream notebook and desktop market. Zacate will feature low-power “Bobcat” CPU cores and support DirectX 11 technology.
Planned for introduction: Q1 2011

More information about 2011 AMD APU past on this blog:
Acer repositioning for the post Wintel era starting with AMD Fusion APUs [June 17, 2011]
Supply chain battles for much improved levels of price/performance competitiveness [Aug 16, 2011]
Acer & Asus: Compensating lower PC sales by tablet PC push [March 29 – Aug 2, 2011]
CES 2011 presence with Microsoft moving to SoC & screen level slot management that is not understood by analysts/observers at all [Jan 7, 2011]
Changing purchasing attitudes for consumer computing are leading to a new ICT paradigm [Jan 5, 2011]


AMD 2012 APU, code name “Trinity” [amd, Jan 11, 2012]

From the Technology Showcase at CES, John Taylor discusses the next-generation AMD APU, code name “Trinity”, and it’s benefits.

AMD started talking about ‘Trinity’ last summer. See in Acer repositioning for the post Wintel era starting with AMD Fusion APUs [June 17, 2011]

Advanced Micro Devices’ CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results – Earnings Call Transcript [Seeking Alpha, Jan 24, 2012]

We are seeing particularly strong customer interest in our expanded low-power APUs for 2012. The low-power versions of our next-generation chip, Trinity APU, delivers mainstream performance while using half the power of our traditional notebook processor. This processor fits into an ultrathin notebook design, as thin as 17 millimeters, providing industry-leading visual performance and battery life at very attractive price points. Trinity remains on track to launch for midyear.

We achieved record quarter client revenue driven by an increase in supply of Llano APUs. And in Q4 of 2011, APUs accounted for nearly 100% of mobile microprocessors shipped and more than 60% of the total client microprocessors shipped. Microprocessor ASP increased sequentially due to an increase in mobile microprocessor ASP and an increase in server units shipped.

Question-and-Answer Session

There is no doubt that the customer acceptance of our APU architecture is quite strong. We’ve now shipped over 30 million of these APUs to date. And we’re seeing a strong uptake in terms of that architecture, what it means to the customer. They are looking for a better experience, and I think that’s a key reason why we’ve seen the momentum in our business and the ability to deliver on that. Our focus on execution around the APUs and around Llano is definitely paying off. And I think as we move forward, we should be able to continue to build on that momentum.

We’ve actually increased our Llano 32-nanometer product delivery by 80% from the third quarter, and now Llano makes up almost 60% of the mobile microprocessing revenue. … We’re going to continue to build on the strong relationships that we’ve been developing with GLOBALFOUNDRIES as we move forward.

The movement to thin and light is nothing new. Customers want mobility. And the idea of ultrathin is something that we’re very focused on. And if you think about it with our APU strategy that I mentioned, with the next-generation product, Trinity APU, we already are well ahead of the pace last year when we set a record-setting year for design wins with the Trinity product in 2012. With that product, we can deliver ultrathin in the range of 17 millimeters. And what’s really important and I think we have to all focus on is ultrathin and mobility, the ability for computing to reach customers across the planet. … And I’ll add that the improvements that we’ve made in Trinity in both our CPU and the GPU are really delivering outstanding results in performance per watt. So as well for the ultrathins being able to hit the 17-millimeter low-profile, we’re also getting a doubling of the performance per watt. So it’s an exciting application of our APU technology.

… as you think of the industry trends around consumerization, cloud and convergence, there’s no doubt, as we’ve seen these kinds of inflection points in the industry, there’s always a significant downward pressure in terms of the price points. So if you’re dragging huge asset base along with you and there comes pressure into the market around those price points, that could put pressure into their [Intel’s] — into a business model. … We think the emerging market and the entry — and the high-growth markets around entry and mainstream will be the hottest segment, and I think that’s playing to our hand. We’re going to emphasize this strategy. We want to embrace this inflection point that’s emerging. We want to accelerate it, because shift happens when there’s these inflecting points.

Of course, we see the investment of our competitor, but the fabless ecosystem is not sitting still. And if you look at the investments that are done on their — TSMC, at a GLOBALFOUNDRIES and a GLOBALFOUNDRIES and alliances level, then the numbers are very comparable. GLOBALFOUNDRIES and their partnership models invest about $9 billion this year. TSMC seeds around $6 billion, if I recall the number correctly. So this is, in terms of scale and absolute numbers, are very comparable to what Intel is putting on the table.

… I feel pretty good about where we are in terms of the transition around 32 nm. … And I want to emphasize, we’ve made real progress, but we’re not finished with that. And we need to continue to work every day with those tiger teams we’ve put in place. We’re tracking the test vehicles through the lines to make sure that we’re getting that consistent improvement, because that will reduce our consumption of wafers and give us far more flexibility in our supply chain. So while we have improved by 80% from the third quarter, we’re not all the way there yet … there’s more yield improvements possible on that 32-nanometer line. … And those same techniques and practices that the teams — the tiger teams applied on 32-nanometer, that momentum continues in the 28-nanometer. And so that poises us well going into the coming 2012.

… I think it’s fair to say from the improvements we have seen and the — and our foundry partners that we are not going to be supply-constrained in the first quarter. … I think the progress we have seen on Trinity has impressed us. And of course, all the learnings that have been done on 32-nanometer with the Llano product will be transferred to Trinity. So the start-off pace with Trinity is going to be significantly better from a yield perspective compared to where we were at Llano launch. So that makes us quite optimistic looking forward.

Here are also a couple of illustrations highlighting that 2011 APU success with the details of new APU strategy additions from Lisa Su‘s (Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global Business Units) presentation for the 2012 Financial Analyst Day held on February 2, 2012 (see her full presentation in PDF):

APUs BRING LEADERSHIP GRAPHICS/COMPUTE IP TO MAINSTREAM [#10]

image2011: AMD first to introduce heterogeneous computing to mainstream applications

“Llano” APU offers nearly 3X the performance in the same power envelope over conventional CPUs (2)

Fully leverages the growing ecosystem of GPU-accelerated apps

Source: AMD Performance labs
(1) Testing performed by AMD Performance Labs. Calculated compute performance or Theoretical Maximum GFLOPS score for 2013 Kaveri (4C, 8CU) 100w APU, use standard formula of (CPU Cores x freq x 8 FLOPS) + (GPU Cores x freq x 2 FLOPS). The calculated GFLOPS for the 2013 Kaveri (4C, 8CU) 100w APU was 1050. GFLOPs scores for 2011 A-Series “Llano” was 580 and the 2013 [2012] A-Series “Trinity” was 819. Scores rounded to the nearest whole number.
(2) Testing performed by AMD Performance Labs. Calculated compute performance or Theoretical Maximum GFLOPS score (use standard formula of CPU Cores x freq x 8 FLOPS) for conventional CPU alone in 2011 was 210 GFLOPs while the calculated GFLOPs for the 1st Gen APU using standard formula (CPU Cores x freq x 8 FLOPS) + (GPU Cores x freq x 2 FLOPS) was 580 or 2.8 times greater compute performance.

Related new codenames (from the AMD provided At-a-Glance Codename Decoder [Feb 2, 2012]):

“Trinity” APU (Traditional Notebooks, Ultrathin Notebooks and Desktops)

  • “Trinity” is AMD’s second generation APU and improves the power and performance of AMD’s A-Series APU lineup for mainstream and high-performance notebooks and desktops. “Trinity” will feature next-generation “Piledriver” CPU cores and new, DirectX® 11-capable, second generation AMD Radeon™ HD 7000 series graphics.
  • New for 2012, AMD will offer a BGA or pin-less format, low power “Trinity” APU specifically designed for ultrathin notebooks.
  • Planned for introduction: Mid-2012

“Piledriver” Core Micro Architecture

  • “Piledriver” is the next evolution of AMD’s revolutionary “Bulldozer” core architecture.
  • The “Trinity” line-up of APUs will be the first introduction of “Piledriver.”

“Kaveri” APU (Notebooks and Desktops)

  • “Kaveri” is AMD’s third generation APU for mainstream desktop and notebooks.
  • These APUs will include “Steamroller” cores, and new HSA-enabling features for easier programming of accelerated processing capabilities.
  • Planned for introduction: 2013

“Steamroller” Core Micro Architecture

  • “Steamroller” is the evolution of AMD’s “Piledriver” core architecture.

AMD OPTERON™ FUTURE TECHNOLOGY [#26]

image

Additional new codename (from the AMD provided At-a-Glance Codename Decoder):

“Excavator” Core Micro Architecture

  • “Excavator” is the evolution of AMD’s “Steamroller” core architecture.

APU ADOPTION: RECORD DESIGN WINS, STRONG END-USER DEMAND [#11]

image

Shipped > 30m APUs to date

11 of the world’s top 12 OEMs shipping AMD APU-based platforms

“Brazos” APUs shipped more units in its first year than any previous mobile platform in AMD history

“Llano” APUs ramped to represent nearly 60% of mobile processor revenue by Q4 2011

image

Additional new codenames (from the AMD provided At-a-Glance Codename Decoder):

“Southern Islands” Discrete Graphics

  • Internal codename for the entire family of desktop graphics ASICs based on Graphics Core Next architecture and utilizing 28nm process technology.
  • “Southern Islands” products include “Tahiti” (AMD Radeon™ HD 7900 series), “Pitcairn,” “Cape Verde” and “New Zealand.”

“Brazos 2.0” APU (Essential Desktop and Notebook, Netbook, All-In-One and Small Desktop)

  • The “Brazos 2.0” family of APUs will follow “Brazos”, AMD’s fastest ramping platform ever.
  • In addition to increased CPU and GPU frequencies, “Brazos 2.0” will offer additional features and functionality as compared to “Brazos”.
  • Planned for introduction: H1 2012

“Hondo” APU (Tablet)

  • “Hondo” is AMD’s sub-5W APU designed for tablets. “Hondo” will feature low-power “Bobcat” CPU cores and support DirectX® 11 technology in a BGA or pin-less format.
  • Planned for introduction: H2 2012

AMD started talking about ‘Hondo’ (as well as ‘Trinity’) last summer. See in Acer repositioning for the post Wintel era starting with AMD Fusion APUs [June 17, 2011]

image
(3) Projections and testing developed by AMD Performance Labs. Projected score for 2012 AMD Mainstream Notebook Platform “Comal” on the “Pumori” reference design for PC Mark Vantage Productivity benchmark is projected to increase by up to 25% over actual scores from the 2011 AMD Mainstream Notebook Platform “Sabine”. Projections were based on AMD A8/A6/A4 35w APUs for both platforms.
(4) Projections and testing developed by AMD Performance Labs. Projected score for the 2012 AMD Mainstream Notebook Platform “Comal” the “Pumori” reference design for 3D Mark Vantage Performance benchmark is projected to increase by up to 50% over actual scores from the 2011 AMD Mainstream Notebook Platform “Sabine”. Projections were based on AMD A8/A6/A4 35w APUs for both platforms.
(5) Testing performed by AMD Performance Labs. Battery life calculations using the “Pumori” reference design based on average power draw based on multiple benchmarks and usage scenarios. For Windows Idle calculations indicate 732 minutes (12:12 hours) as a resting metric; 421 minutes (7:01 hours) of DVD playback on Hollywood movie, 236 minutes (3:56 hours) of Blu-ray playback on Hollywood movie, and 205 minutes (3:25 hours) using 3D Mark ‘06 as an active metric.
Projections for the 2012 AMD Mainstream Platform Codename “Comal” assume a configuration of “Pumori” reference board, Trinity A8 35W 4C – highest performance GPU, AMD A70M FCH, 2 x 2G DDR3 1600, 1366 x 768 eDP Panel / LED Backlight, HDD (SATA) – 250GB 5400rpm, 62Whr Battery Pack and Windows 7 Home Premium.

image

image

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Additional new codenames (from the AMD provided At-a-Glance Codename Decoder):

“Sea Islands” Graphics Architecture

  • New GPU Architecture and HSA Features
  • Planned for introduction: 2013

“Kabini” APU (Essential Desktop and Notebook, Netbook, All-In-One and Small Desktop)

  • The “Kabini” APU is AMD’s second generation low-power APU and follow-on to “Brazos 2.0.”
  • In addition to new “Jaguar” cores, these APUs will be enhanced with new Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA), enabling features for easier programming of accelerated processing capabilities.
  • Planned for introduction: 2013

“Temash” APU (Tablet and Fanless Client)

  • The “Temash” APU is AMD’s second generation tablet APU and follow-on to “Hondo.”
  • In addition to new “Jaguar” cores, these APUs will be enhanced with new Heterogeneous Systems Architecture-enabling features for easier programming of accelerated processing capabilities.
  • Planned for introduction: 2013

“Jaguar” Core Micro Architecture

  • “Jaguar” is the evolution of AMD’s “Bobcat” core architecture for low-power APUs.

MOBILE MARKET PROJECTIONS [#29]                             AMD Direction:

imageFocus on true productivity and user experience in ultra-low power devices

Leadership graphics, web applications and video processing leveraging APUs

Agile, flexible SoC designs

Ambidextrous solutions across ISAs and ecosystems

Fanless, sealed designs


These APU related strategic moves have been summarized by the same John Taylor as Strengthening our Client Roadmap [AMD Fusion blog, Feb 2, 2012]:

Roadmaps signify our plans to customers and business partners, outlining the new products and technologies that we are bringing online. In an ideal world plans would never change. But in reality, change is a certainty in the tech industry – new form factors immerge, technologies and applications shift and consumer tastes remake technology plans.

Like any technology company, AMD desires to anticipate change in the industry. So we course-correct as we work with customers to ensure that we create products that address the optimal blend of timing, features and performance, cost and form factors.

Today at our Financial Analyst Day in Sunnyvale, AMD senior staff detailed how AMD will focus its investments in R&D and marketing going forward, including roadmaps for 2012-2013. As Phil Hughes summarized, the announced roadmaps are designed to extend platform longevity, accelerate time to market and enhance performance and features. These roadmaps strengthen AMD’s ability to make the most of shifting market dynamics, all the while giving stand-out experience across device categories through our graphics and video IP. This blog provides some insight into our 2012 and 2013 roadmaps – the words in quotes are the codenames for the particular AMD processor offerings discussed today.

2012 Client Roadmap

AMD’s “Brazos 2.0” Accelerated Processor Unit (APU) family will be used for essential desktop and notebook, netbook, tablet, all-in-one and small desktop form factors. This allows us to address a fast-growing segment of the PC market where we have proven success with the original “Brazos” line-up – the C-Series, E-Series and Z-SeriesAPUs. We will add plenty of new features to the “Brazos 2.0” APU family, including increased CPU and GPU performance, longer battery life, a bevy of integrated I/O options and improvements to AMD Steady Video technology. “Brazos 2.0” is scheduled to hit the market in the first half of 2012.

As we demoed at CES, AMD’s “Trinity” APU for desktop and notebook remains on track for introduction in mid-2012, with plans to pack up to four “Piledriver” CPU cores and next-generation DirectX® 11-capable graphics technology, together delivering up to 50% more compute performance than our “Llano” offerings, including superior entertainment potential, longer battery-life and an even more incredibly brilliant HD visual experience.

New for 2012, AMD will introduce a low voltage “Trinity” APU that will be ideal for the next-generation of ultrathin notebook. This “Trinity” APU matches the experience enabled by the AMD 2011 APU in up to half the TDP. As we said, “Trinity” is on track for introduction in mid-2012.

In 2012 we will also introduce the ultra-low voltage “Hondo” APU for tablets. These low-power (power maxes out at 5W TDP) APUs will have “Bobcat” CPU cores and support DirectX 11 technology in a BGA or pin-less, thin processor package. Look for these in the second half of 2012 – more details to come later.

On the desktop platform side of things, the “Vishera” CPU will replace the “Komodo” CPU for desktop. This change enables accelerated time to market for improved performance and next-generation CPU features while maintaining the existing AM3+ motherboards. The “Vishera” CPU ushers in many exciting updates, includes 8 “Piledriver” cores, and when compared with the previous generation, provides higher frequencies, improved instruction per clock performance, advanced instruction sets (thus increasing application performance), additional DDR3 memory support and next-generation AMD Turbo Core Technology. We plan to launch “Vishera” in the second half of 2012.

2013 Client Roadmap

2013 brings major evolution to the client roadmaps as the vision presented by Rory, Mark and Lisa today begin to manifest – including moving our low power APUs to a system on a chip (SoC) design with the AMD Fusion Controller Hub integrated right into a single chip design.

In the performance APU category our third-generation APU, “Kaveri,”will employ “Steamroller” (the evolution of AMD’s “Piledriver” core architecture) x86 cores for enhanced instructions per clock and power advantages. Applications that take advantage of GPU accelerate will give users an amazing experience thanks to our Graphics Core Next and new Heterogeneous Systems Architecture (HSA) enabling features for easier programming of accelerated processing capabilities.

In the low power category, the “Kabini” SoC APU takes over for “Brazos 2.0.” This second generation low power APU integrates “Jaguar” x86 cores for augmented performance and energy efficiency. These APUs will also benefit from select HSA features and functionality.

We keep on innovating for the ultra-low power space in 2013. Our second generation, ultra-low-power “Temash” SoC APU will follow “Hondo” for tablet and other fanless form factors. This APU will also leverage the “Jaguar” low-power x86 cores and HSA features.

We at AMD strongly believe these roadmap updates help us time new product introductions with customer design phases to hit key sales cycles across a range of form factors and experiences. We are moving with the market and on the path to deliver exceptional productivity and user experience in a wide array of form factors.

John Taylor, Director of Worldwide Product Marketing at AMD

He also provided the following answers to questions regarding how AMD spells out Windows 8 tablet strategy [CNET, Feb 2, 2012]:

Q: Before, we go to Windows 8, what is your smartphone strategy, if any?
Taylor: The smartphone market is eight, nine, ten, maybe a dozen players. [They have] lower ASPs (average selling price), lower [profit] margins, different competitive dynamic. So, there is no shift on the smartphone strategy.

And Window 8?
Taylor: But you will see much more focus on tablets, the convertible or hybrid devices that fit between tablets and notebooks, very thin [designs].

What chips exactly will get you there?
Taylor: For tablets, it will decidedly be the Hondo chip. We’re acknowledging that we still have a couple of watts to shave off to really be a more ideal tablet platform (to achieve optimal power efficiency). But we think that Temash gets us much, much closer to that in 2013.

And Windows 8 convertibles?
A 17-watt [power consumption] is the lowest that we’ll offer. That’s called Trinity. It will be unmatched in that [17-watt design] space. Discrete graphics-like performance. All types of dedicated video processing capabilities, better battery life than the competition. And all of these ways that we’re driving the new generation of accelerated applications. If you think about the Web apps that are being built for Win 8, using HTML5 and the graphics enginethat drives that higher level experience.

I will add to that the following two illustrations from the AMD Product and Technology Roadmaps[AMD FAD, Feb 2, 2012]:
image

“Vishera” CPU (Desktop)

  • The “Vishera” desktop CPU incorporates up to eight “Piledriver” cores, advanced instruction sets and other performance enhancing additions
  • This next-generation CPU will maintain the AM3+ infrastructure.
  • Planned for introduction: H2 2012

image


In addition to the above described expansion of the original APU strategy for the clients there is a kind of naming change with AMD Fusion System Architecture is now Heterogeneous Systems Architecture [AMD Fusion blog, Jan 18, 2012]

Since its introduction to the public in June 2011 at the AMD Fusion11 Developer Summit, the AMD Fusion System Architecture (FSA) has received widespread support and interest from our business partners and technology industry leaders. FSA was the blueprint for AMD’s overarching design for utilizing CPU and GPU processor cores as a unified processing engine, which we are making into an open platform standard. This architecture enables many benefits, including high application performance and low power consumption.

Our software partners are already taking advantage of the power and performance advantage of APU and GPU acceleration, with more than 200 accelerated applications shipped to date. The combination of industry standards like OpenCL and C++ AMP, alongside FSA, is ushering in the era of heterogeneous computing.

Together with these software partners, we have built a heterogeneous compute ecosystem that is built on industry standards. As such, we believe it’s only fitting that the name of this evolving architecture and platform be representative of the entire, technical community that is leading the way in this very important area of technology and programing development.

FSA will now be known as Heterogeneous Systems Architecture or HSA. The HSA platform will continue to be rooted in industry standards and will include some of the best innovations that the technology community has to offer.

Manju Hegde and I will be hosting a breakout session on HSA at AMD’s Financial Analyst Day on February 2nd 2012, which will be webcast live here.  More information on the latest advances in HSA design will be released at a future date.

Also, if you haven’t already made plans to attend the AMD Fusion12 Developer Summit in June 2012 in Bellevue, Washington, I encourage you to save the date. Leaders from the technology and programming development communities will converge at the summit to discuss Heterogeneous Computing and the next-generation user experiences that are enabled by this platform.

Phil Rogers, corporate fellow at AMD.

From the Analyst Day breakout session presentation I will include the following illustrations here as the food for thoughts and further interests:

image

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image

image

For Windows 8 related HSA, “C++ AMP” (indicated on the last illustration) is worth to expand on via Introducing C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism (C++ AMP) [MSDN Blogs, June 15, 2011]

A few months ago, Herb Sutter told about a keynote he was to delivered today in the AMD Fusion Developer Summit (happening these days). He said by then:

“Parallelism is not just in full bloom, but increasingly in full variety. We know that getting full computational performance out of most machines—nearly all desktops and laptops, most game consoles, and the newest smartphones—already means harnessing local parallel hardware, mainly in the form of multicore CPU processing. (…) More and more, however, getting that full performance can also mean using gradually ever-more-heterogeneous processing, from local GPGPU and Accelerated Processing Unit (APU) flavors to “often-on” remote parallel computing power in the form of elastic compute clouds. (…)”

In that sense, S. Somasegar, Senior Vice President of the Developer Division made this morning the following announcement:

“I’m excited to announce that we are introducing a new technology that helps C++ developers use the GPU for parallel programming. Today at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit, we announced C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism (C++ AMP). (…) By building on the Windows DirectX platform, our implementation of C++ AMP allows you to target hardware from all the major hardware vendors. (…)”

C++ AMP, as Soma tells in his post, is actually an open specification. Microsoft will deliver an implementation based on its Windows DirectX platform (DirectCompute, as Daniel Moth specifies in a later posta few minutes ago).

Daniel added that C++ AMP will lower the barrier to entry for heterogeneous hardware programmability, bringing performance to the mainstream. Developers will get an STL-like library as part of the existing concurrency namespace (whose Parallel Patterns Library –PPL and its Concurrency Runtime –ConcRT are also being enhanced in the next version of Visual C++ –check references at the end of this post for further details) in a way that developers won’t need to learn a different syntax, nor using a different compiler.

Update (6/16/2011): “Heterogeneous Parallelism at Microsoft, the keynote where Herb Sutter and Daniel Moth introduced this technology with code and graphic demos is available for on-demand watching.

Update (6/17/2011): Daniel Moth’s session “Blazing-fast Code Using GPUs and More, with C++ AMP” is available as well! Beside, Dana Groff tells what’s new in Visual Studio 11 for PPL and ConcRT.

Pedal to the metal, let’s go native at full speed!

References:

  1. S. Somasegar’s announcement: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/somasegar/archive/2011/06/15/targeting-heterogeneity-with-c-amp-and-ppl.aspx
  2. Daniel Moth’s blog post: http://www.danielmoth.com/Blog/C-Accelerated-Massive-Parallelism.aspx
  3. Herb Sutter’s keynote at the AMD Fusion Developer Summit: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/AMD-Fusion-Developer-Summit/AMD-Fusion-Developer-Summit-11/KEYNOTE
  4. Daniel Moth: Blazing-fast Code Using GPUs and More, with C++ AMP (session presented at AMD Fusion Developer Summit): http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/AMD-Fusion-Developer-Summit/AMD-Fusion-Developer-Summit-11/DanielMothAMP
  5. Announcing the PPL, Agents and ConcRT efforts for Visual Studio 11, by Dana Groff: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/nativeconcurrency/archive/2011/06/16/announcing-the-ppl-agents-and-concrt-efforts-for-v-next.aspx
  6. AMD Fusion Developer Summit Webcasts: http://developer.amd.com/afds/pages/webcast.aspx

With that in mind the upcoming 2012 AMD Fusion Developer Summit will definitely bring quite important updates as promised by the last breakout session illustration:

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More on that: Adobe and Cloudera among Keynotes at AMD Fusion12 Developers Summit [AMD Fusion blog, Feb 3, 2012]


Finally, regarding the ‘ambidextrous’ strategy mentioned in the first sentence of the press release:

  1. ‘ambidextrous’ generally means ‘very skillful and versatile’ coming from ‘able to use the right and the left hand with equal skill’
  2. it is described in the press release as:
  3. adopting an SoC-centric roadmap designed to speed time-to-market, drive sustained execution, and enable the development of more tailored customer solutions. SoC design methodology is advantageous because it is a modular approach to processor design, leveraging best practice tools and microprocessor design flows with the ability to easily re-use IP and design blocks across a range of products. …

  4. and detailed in Mark Papermaster‘s (Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer) presentation for the 2012 Financial Analyst Day held on February 2, 2012 (see his full presentation in PDF) via the following illustrations:

image
as the Go-to-market approach together with ODM / OEM relationships

image
specifically highlighting the differentiation with it for the datacenter
image
related to MDC [Multi-DataCenter] workloads and HSA.

But also mentioning it in more generic terms as:
image
”Flexible around ISA [Instruction Set Architecture]” and
“Flexible around combination of AMD IP and third party IP”

Which caused probably the biggest interest and questions among participating analysts what made even The Wall Street Journal to report as AMD Will Incorporate Others’ Technology in Its Chips [Feb 3, 2011]:

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., the microprocessor maker whose fortunes have long been closely tied to the same technology as bigger rival IntelCorp., is planning a more flexible future.

The company on Thursday said it may pursue what it calls an “ambidextrous” strategy that would allow it to offer chips that include circuitry developed by other companies as well as its own. One obvious option would be low-power microprocessor technology from ARM HoldingsPLC that now dominates chip markets for cellphones and tablet computers.

AMD Chief Executive Rory Read, at a meeting with analysts here and in a subsequent interview, stopped short of saying that AMD would definitely add ARM-based technology to its chips in the future. But he noted that the company is laying the technical groundwork for modular chips that could accept blocks of circuitry developed by ARM as well as other companies.

“We have a relationship with ARM, and we will continue to build on it,” Mr. Read said in an interview. “We will continue to evolve that relationship as the market continues to evolve.”

Such possibilities are a sign of how the exploding market for mobile devices is causing many companies to alter their strategies. The x86 design used by AMD and Intel is the foundation of virtually all personal and most server computers.

But the two companies have struggled to make headway in the mobile-device market, in large part because of the lower power consumption of ARM-based designs. Meanwhile, ARM licensees—which include Qualcomm Inc., Texas Instruments Inc. and Nvidia Corp.—are adding to the pressures by edging toward the PC market, as MicrosoftCorp. finishes development of a new operating system that supports ARM and x86 chips.

AMD’s management team, in a meeting with analysts here, took pains to dispute the notion that AMD may become marginalized as ARM-powered competitors enter the PC market. Rather, they argued, AMD’s strength in graphics and microprocessors—and a strategy of customizing chips for large customers—will expand AMD’s opportunities.

Indeed, Mr. Read argued, it is Intel’s outsize influence of the tech industry that will tend to decline. “We will see the breakdown of proprietary control points,” Mr. Read said.

Though Mr. Read didn’t commit to embracing ARM’s designs, others who heard his presentation said the direction is clear. “AMD was very deliberate today about their goal to integrate more third-party intellectual property,” said Patrick Moorhead, a former AMD vice president and now principal analyst at Moor insights & Strategy. “Nothing they communicated excluded the potential for ARM.”

AMD’s remarks also underscore an industry shift—driven largely by the mobile market—away from separate chips and toward multi-function products that the industry calls SoCs, for systems on a chip, which save space and power in mobile devices and other hardware.

Intel and AMD have begun offering SoCs for laptop computers. But AMD discussed extensive plans to create more such products at a faster rate, using a flexible design scheme that can accommodate technology submitted by other companies.

Mr. Read, who previously served as a senior executive at PC maker Lenovo GroupLtd., has recruited others that also worked at IBM and have experience with other chip technologies than x86.

One is Mark Papermaster, AMD’s senior vice president and chief technology officer, who worked at Apple Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. after leaving IBM in 2008. Another is Lisa Su, a senior vice president and general manager of AMD’s global business units, who most recently worked at Freescale Semiconductor HoldingsLtd., an ARM user.

Ms. Su gave an updated road map for a series of future chips, including products that AMD expects to be used in tablets that are powered by Microsoft’s forthcoming Windows 8 operating system. But Mr. Read said AMD would likely stay away from trying to sell chips for smartphones soon, characterizing the market as too crowded with competitors.

Marvell’s SMILE Plug for the “Classroom 3.0” initiative

SMILE = Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment
and this is currently a smartphone based solution aimed at the digital classroom.

In this sense it is a kind of a newer (only 1+ year old) approach than the 6 years old OLPC.  
(Read about Marvell’s OLPC involvement in:
Marvell® ARMADA® PXA168 based XO laptops and tablets from OLPC with $185 and target $100 list prices respectively [Jan 8-11, 2012]
Marvell ARMADA with sun readable and unbreakable Pixel Qi screen, and target [mass] manufacturing cost of $75 [Nov 4, 2010 – July 20, 2011])

Remark: Will be interesting to see OLPC related educational initiatives merged in some way with SMILE during 2012 as Marvell’s “Classroom 3.0” initiative is rolled out. An Argentinian report on SMILE success (see well below) notes that: “… pilot projects and programs, driven by governments in most cases by applying the model 1:1, or also known as OLPC (One Laptop per Child), … Unfortunately, no results have been achieved educational and cognitive testing. Moreover, assessments of international experts from various experiences of OLPC in the world are not the most encouraging. Most of these programs have focused primarily on an abundant supply of hardware, often with little support, but above all, without proper teacher training, which keeps pace with the massive deployment of equipment. On the other hand, the vast majority of digital content that are being used by several of these programs are not innovative and do not promote interactive learning and motivating children.

No wonder Marvell is contributing to SMILE as well:

SMILE Plug at CES 2012 [Jan 25, 2012]

“… partnered with Stanford … actually where SMILE comes from … Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment …”

Marvell Showcases ‘Classroom 3.0’ Education Technology at CES 2012 [Jan 9, 2012]

ARMADA powered SMILE Plug and One Laptop per Child tablet transform traditional classroom activities with interactive, multimedia curricula for more engaging learning experience

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Marvell (NASDAQ: MRVL), a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today announced new education solutions designed to enable “Classroom 3.0,” a connected, secure learning environment that simplifies and speeds the deployment of technology to students around the world. Marvell’s collaboration with Stanford Universityhas resulted in the Marvell® SMILE Plug, the first plug development kit designed to turn a traditional classroom into a highly interactive learning environment. Designed to engage students in critical reasoning and problem solving, the SMILE Plug creates a “micro cloud” within a classroom that is completely controlled by the teacher. Marvell also announced that it has extended its relationship with the One Laptop per Child Association (OPLC) on a number of new products, including the upcoming OLPC X0 3.0, a low cost, low power tablet designed for education.

“Marvell is driving a revolution in the classroom with technology that improves the education experience for students and teachers around the world. We’re deeply committed to improving education worldwide, and through our work with organizations like OPLC and Stanford University, we are helping to transform learning from a static one-way activity to an interactive experience brought to life with compelling content, engaging interactive multimedia and numerous new ways to collaborate,” said Weili Dai, Co-founder of Marvell. “Marvell’s SMILE Plug, the first ultra small server designed specifically for multi-modal curriculum delivery, combined with our affordable, easy-to-use and durable OLPC XO 3.0 tablet, are important additions to the world’s classrooms. It’s a matter of time before we leverage the power of Google TV and other smart screens in our daily lives to bring knowledge experts from around the globe to any local classroom.”

The Marvell SMILE Plug, powered by Marvell’s high-performance, low power ARMADA® 300 series SoC and Marvell Avastar™ 88W8764 Wi-Fi, creates a micro-cloud, eliminating the problem of inconsistent Internet access within a classroom and creating a safe and secure connectivity for up to 60 students. The SMILE plug also securely delivers digital content to a range of devices, including personal computers and handheld devices. Teachers and students can now tap into an unprecedented amount of open or premium digital content. The SMILE plug also allows teaches to control and run interactive classrooms with real-time feedback and analytics, deepening the learning experience.

In tandem with the Stanford Mobile Inquiry Based Learning Environment program, Marvell has developed an easy-to-manage access point for a wide array of SMILE learning applications and has created an administration API and user interface, Plugmin, which provides access to many additional SMILE programs. These tools provide teachers total control of the devices and content used within their classroom for better lesson planning and student evaluation.

Additionally, the SMILE Plug Computer features an open platform based on Arch Linux for ARM, the Plugmin administration app and the Stanford SMILE Junction Server. The SMILE Plug includes a 5V Lithium-Ion polymer battery for back-up power, making it ideal for learning environments where electrical power can be inconsistent.

Also at CES, Marvell and OLPC showcased the first prototype of the X0 3.0, a low cost, low power rugged tablet computer designed for education in emerging markets. Built on the Marvell ARMADA 618 processor and its Avastar 88W8686 wireless chip, the XO 3.0 tablet will feature unique capabilities that allow it to be charged by solar panels, hand cranks and other alternative power sources. Marvell and OLPC also announced that the XO 1.75 laptop will begin shipping in February, with initial orders benefiting education programs in Rwanda and Uruguay. For additional information on the XO 3.0 prototype or the XO 1.75 laptop, please see the related release, “Marvell and One Laptop per Child Unveil the Eagerly Anticipated XO 3.0 Tablet at CES.”

Availability

The SMILE Plug will be available in spring 2012; please visit http://www.marvell.com for more information. The One Laptop per Child XO 1.75 will be available in February; please visit http://one.laptop.org/action/donateif you’re interested in donating or for more information.

Marvell will also be demonstrating the its education solutions at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in its booth, No. 30542, located in South Hall 3 on the upper level. CES will be held Tuesday, Jan. 10 – Friday, Jan. 13, 2012, at the Las Vegas Convention Center (150 Paradise Road, Las Vegas).

Lesson 2: How Do I Use Inquiry-Based Learning with Youth? [national4H, July 20, 2011]

Creativity in Mathematics: Inquiry-Based Learning and the Moore Method [Aug 8, 2011]

Creativity in Mathematics: Inquiry-Based Learning and the Moore Method explores the world of Inquiry-Based Learning and seeks to identify the reasons behind its celebrated success. More than twenty-five influential teachers, top researchers, inventors, and leaders of industry attest to the life changing rewards that began for them in a classroom taught by IBL and the Moore Method.

Classroom 3.0: Why the promise of the Digital Classroom depends on technology addressing the human issues first. [Announced Departmental Seminar for Feb 3, 2012, UC Berkeley]

Jack Kang
Director, Application Processor Business Unit, Marvell

Classroom 3.0: Why the promise of the Digital Classroom depends on technology addressing the human issues first.

Abstract:
In this talk, Mr. Kang will share his vision for what a digital, next generation “Classroom 3.0” looks like. Before that however, Mr. Kang will focus on the people and process issues that have to be overcome in order to fully realize the value of technology–issues that technologists and engineers often underestimate. Covering use cases both in the United States and in developing 3rd world countries, the session will end with a  practical call to action, with an opportunity for students to immediately contribute to the Marvell SMILE Plug project, a revolutionary new product that will improve student lives today.

Bio:
Mr. Kang joined Marvell in February, 2006 and is currently director of Marvell’s Application Processor Business Unit. He has been in the semiconductor business for more than seven years, holding previous positions in design engineering at several leading technology vendors. At Marvell, Mr. Kang manages multiple product lines from design conception to mass market implementation and adoption. These include the industry-leading ARMADA PXA processors, which are fueling today’s premier consumer devices. Additionally, he oversees various market segments, including education, eReaders, gaming, tablets and other connected consumer and embedded devices. Most recently, Mr. Kang was responsible for the processor design powering Microsoft’s gaming console, Microsoft Kinect. This gaming console shattered sales records and was named the fastest-selling tech gadget of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records – totaling more than 20 million units since its launch in November, 2010.

Mr. Kang is currently driving the development of Marvell’s ‘Classroom 3.0’, a connected, secure learning environment that simplifies and speeds the deployment of technology to students around the world. A new device called the SMILE plug, central to Classroom 3.0, creates a ‘micro cloud’ within a classroom that is completely controlled by the teacher.

SMILE (Stanford Mobile Interactive Learning Environment) [Aug 4, 2011]

SMILE workshop (Stanford Mobile Interactive Learning Environment – open source mobile application and mobile interaction management system) engages participants to experience how the latest open source mobile learning environment helps teachers to engage students in generating mobile media-based inquiries and using the student-generated inquiries as tools to promote self-reflection among students and formative assessment for teachers. An Android-based mobile learning device will be provided for each participant for the hands-on workshop.

Description

It is generally acknowledged that student-created questions play an important role in the learning process (Dale, 1937; Dillon, 1990; Hunkins, 1976) and they have been demonstrated to improve student learning outcomes (Barak & Rafaeli, 2004; Commeyras, 1995; Dori and Herscovitz, 1999; Rothkopf, 1966). In posing questions themselves, students must revisit previous learning materials and reshape their thoughts relating to prior learning, thereby deepening their understanding (Marbach-Ad & Sokolove, 2000). Moreover, if students are made aware that they will be asked to create questions at a later time, they will actively monitor and attend to what they are learning during class in anticipation (Mosteller, 1989; Wilson, 1986). Despite these findings, though, student-created questions have remained consistently absent from the majority of teachers’ repertoires (Gall, 1970). Studies have reliably shown that only a very small portion of questions asked in a classroom are created by the students(Corey, 1940; Dillon, 1988), implying that a powerful pedagogical tool is being underutilized.

The affordances of mobile phones present a unique opportunity to reintegrate student-generated questions back into the classroom. More specifically, considering that students are already actively trying to communicate with each other during class on their mobile phones (Educational Digest, 2005; Gilroy, 2004), there is an opportunity to reorient this communication toward class material through student-created questions. Indeed, it is slowly being recognized and demonstrated that mobile phones are highly engaging tools to be taken advantage of, not prohibited (Kolb, 2008). For example, data collected by Swan et al. (2005) from four elementary and two middle-school classes indicated that the use of mobile phones in the classroom increased student motivation, improving their quality of work. With mobile phone ownership among children has increased byin the past five years (MRI report, 2010) and a current trend towards the consolidation of open-source mobile operating system platforms (Shuler, 2009), there could be no better time to take advantage of these affordances in order to increase the incidence of student-generated questions as an effective way to promote student learning and engagement in the classroom.

Therefore, a newly developed SMILE (i.e., Stanford Mobile Interactive Learning Environment – open source mobile application and mobile interaction management system) will be demonstrated in a hands-on workshop format. Each participant will be given an Android mobile device to participate in the workshop and two facilitators will coordinate the setup and lead the workshop. The mobile learning workshop basically engages all participants to quickly generate a variety of inquiries (Shown in Figure 1), reflect on the inquiries, and rate participants’ inquiries through a real-time mobile interaction network while the facilitator demonstrates how teachers might be able to monitor the progress of the inquiry generation process and types of inquiries participants generate.

There are several important features of SMILE that were deliberately designed to maximize its effectiveness. First, allowing students to include digital photos in their questions garners the learning benefits gained from the presentation of materials in multimedia (Mayer, 1997). Second, having students create multiple choice question items help the student thoroughly reflect on the learned principles while thinking critically in synthesizing learning concepts and generating inquiries that are logical and sound. Third, permitting students to rate each other’s questions provides feedback and incorporates an element of peer assessment, which has been demonstrated to be valuable to a majority of students (Williams, 1992). Fourth, allowing students to view who scored the highest may foster a “non-pressured,” yet ultimately competitive game playing-like learning environment, which has been demonstrated to maintain an optimally motivating learning atmosphere (Reeve & Deci, 1999). Finally, supplying the teacher with all of the students’ questions and responsesthrough the graphic user interface provides invaluable formative assessment information, which has been demonstrated to greatly improve student learning (Black & William, 1998; Cross, 1998). For all of these reasons, SMILE provides a particularly effective means of promoting student-generated questions and in the end it can encourage the participants to engage in real-time learning and assessment with a multimedia-rich interactive learning environment.

Contact Information

Paul Kim phkim@stanford.edu
Stanford University

SMILE (Stanford Inquiry-Based Learning Environent) Workshop 

Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) is basically an assessment/inquiry maker which allows students to quickly create own inquiries or homework items based on their own learning for the day. SMILE workshop is designed to introduce SMILE to people in the world and help them take advantage of SMILE.

AECT 2011 workshop ::

Date: on November 9, 2-11 at 9AM ~ 12PM
Location: Jacksonville, Florida

This workshop engages participants to experience how the latest open source mobile learning environment helps teachers to engage students in generating mobile media-based inquiries and using the student-generated inquiries as tools to promote self-reflection among students and formative assessment for teachers. An Android-based mobile learning device will be provided for each participant for the hands-on workshop.

… [Included: Instruction Manual For learners by Sunmi Seol, Presentation document, Survey (paper / on-line versions)] …

Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) [first published Feb 23, 2011, excerpted Jan 29, 2012]

“Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE)” is the subproject of POMI in Education.

What is SMILE?

Introducing SMILE: Stanford Mobile Inquiry-Based Learning Environment [Nov 21, 2011]

Using student inquiries as learning objects and meta-evaluation vectors

SMILE turns a traditional classroom into a highly interactive learning environment by engaging students in critical reasoning and problem solving while enabling them to generate, share, and evaluate multimedia-rich inquiries.

Background

Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) is basically an assessment/inquiry maker which allows students to quickly create own inquiries or homework items based on their own learning for the day.

Overview

Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) is basically an assessment/inquiry maker which allows students to quickly create own inquiries or homework items based on their own learning for the day. For example, students can freely take a photo (Shown in Figure 1) of a diagram or any other object from their own textbooks or any phenomena discovered in their school garden or lab and create a homework item.

Figure 1a. At school in IndiaFigure 1b. At school in USA 
Figure 1. Students taking a photo of their textbook

All student-created multimedia inquiry items can be tagged by the generator, but rated by peers to indicate how relevant or useful the item is to their own learning. Obviously, teachers or facilitators could decide to review the student-generated homework items from the homework pool, weed out the ones that may not be relevant and leave only the ones that are highly useful or ones with highest student ratings (i.e., rules could be made at the local level).

The SMILE application enables homework generation, completion and competition game during class. It offers opportunity to review what students learned in class and organize them and create their own inquires from them. Moreover, all student-generated questions are instantly collected, passed out to the whole class and all students are supposed to take a quiz created by all students and also give rating to each question based on standard rule made by local level. After students’ answers are submitted, they can review their results immediately. Through creating own question and sharing it with peers, students are able to check their understanding of what they learned for the day and compensate their lack of learning from peers’ questions. The instant activity blocks students’ learning of the day from fading away and after activity a teacher can give more additional information and detailed explanations to the class which helps them improve their understandings a lot. Quiz activity is controlled by teacher’s application so that students can not get distracted and do other actions. The current prototype of this application supports group/classroom level but village/school level, or community/school district level will be supported soon. Also, it enables a facilitator or teacher to map each inquiry or homework item with appropriate learning standard classifications. The former application is inside the classroom activity and the latter one is outside the classroom activity. The latter application enables students or teachers freely have access to SMILE server regardless of time and place if they have mobile devices. Basically, all homework items created by students are saved on SMILE server, and students can create their own homework items and upload them to the server. Also, they are able to solve homework items connected to the server. Teachers can review all homework items and manage all items to be high quality by seeding out ones which are not relevant to subject or have low-rating by peers from the server. In-out school network system offers continuous learning to all students and then they can pay attention to their own learning saving time and effort, and finally, are more likely to get better understandings of what they learned inside and outside the classroom.

Figure 2a. SMILE student-created inquiry incorporating own mobile photo 1Figure 2b. SMILE student-created inquiry incorporating own mobile photo 2Figure 2c. SMILE student-created inquiry incorporating own mobile photo 3 
Figure 2. Student-created inquiries incorporating own mobile photo

The immediate advantages of SMILE are in that it…

  1. involves the learners themselves in the reflection and generation of own learning stimuli and inquiries;
  2. makes it possible to have anytime/anywhere homework/inquiry generation possibility (where there is an opportunistic learning moment);
  3. empowers the learner to generate and incorporate mobile multimedia objects from own environment;
  4. allows the learn to rate peer-inquiries based on own assessment of the merit;
  5. enables a collective management of homework quality;
  6. enables any group or organization to track the academic performance of the learner at a granular (based on learning standards) level;
  7. makes it possible to conduct a variety of comparison analyses for benchmarking purposes;
  8. creates a competition or collaboration game environment.

Study

SMILE is composed of teacher’s application and student’s application. Teacher’s application was developed using Java language and it works on web-based system which Java is installed in. To support ad-hoc network environment, XMPP server such as openfire and apache were installed at the server and both applications also include Junction library developed by Stanford Engineering School. All users connected to the server have same environment, in short all students are controlled do same action. Only teacher’s application can manage the each step of the activity happening at SMILE. On the contrary, student’s application can do action sent from teacher’s message.

1) Teacher’s Application

  • GUI (Graphic User Interface)-based application and it works in any system which Java can be installed in such as desktop, laptop and net book.
  • Server IP is fixed but it is changeable and a teacher can change the path of Apache directory if the path is different from the fixed one.
  • This application supports two ways for a quiz activity: first one is to let students create their own inquires, share, solve and get the result of the quiz during class and other one is using saved questions. As for the latter one, a teacher can freely select the quiz set from the server and pass it out to the whole class.
  • A teacher can use time-limit quiz way inserting time limit at the application (Optional).
  • This activity is composed of four states: connection to the server, making question, solving questions and seeing the results. A teacher is able to see the current status from the activity flow and each state button is disabled after the state is over.
  • At student status window, a teacher can check each student’s submission of the question and answers of the quiz, and final score. A teacher is also able to see total numbers of students joined the quiz, ones of students submit the question, and ones of students submit answers.
  • Score board window shows each student’s final score and right answer, his/her answer and his/her rating about each question.

Figure 3a. Teacher’s application of SMILE in India

Figure 3a. Teacher's application of SMILE in IndiaFigure 3b. Teacher's application of SMILE in USA
Figure 3b. Teacher’s application of SMILE in USA

  • Top score window is for noticing top score winners. A teacher can see who get highest score at the quiz and who get highest rating on their own questions.
  • Question status window includes the following information: as for each question, who created, how many students get right answers, and what ratings this question get. Moreover, if clicking each question, a teacher can see real question at question window. After getting result, more detailed information is added to original question.
  • If clicking save questions, student-created questions are saved and they can be used for future class or other students.

2) Student’s Application

Figure 4. Login WindowFigure 5. Main WindowFigure 6. Make your question
Figure4. Login Window     Figure 5. Main Window    Figure 6. Make your question

  • To join this activity, students are supposed to insert their name and server IP which is usually fixed but if server IP is different from fixed one, change it to the right IP address. If clicking login button, this application connect to the junction server and all students’ applications are under same environment according to the teacher’s application.

Figure 7a. Main Window in IndiaFigure 7b. Main Window in USA
Figure7a. Main Window in India         Figure7b. Main Window in USA

  • At main window, as shown in Figure 5 there are three buttons: Make your question, Solve questions, and See results. Each action button is automatically enabled so that students can not do different actions without a teacher’s direction.
  • Each student’s application receives the message from teacher’s application, and action button is enabled and then each student goes to each action status by clicking the button. The first action is making own question.
  • At making question state, students can generate their own inquires adding images related to the inquiry. At that time, students can use the pictures saved already or take a picture from their materials or everything around them. Currently, students can create multiple-choice question for supporting instant grading system. Using preview function, students can preview their own questions before submission.

Figure 8a. Students are making questionsFigure 8b. Students are making questionsFigure 8c. Students are making questions

Figure 8d. Students are making questionsFigure 8e. Students are making questionsFigure 8f. Students are making questions
Figure 8. Students are making questions

  • If clicking post button, newly-created question is given to the server and the application comes back to the main window.

Figure 9. Main WindowFigure 10. Solve Questions
Figure 9. Main Window         Figure 10. Solve Questions

  • After getting message “Solve Questions” from the teacher’s application, the next button is enabled. All students are under solving questions state.
  • Students can freely go to next or previous question and also check answer and rating. Before submitting answer sheet, students can not escape from this activity.

11a. The picture of solving questions in india

Figure 11a. The picture of solving questions in indiaFigure 11b. The picture of solving questions in india
11b. The picture of solving questions in USA

Figure 11. Students answering to questions made by their peers

  • Accidental logoff may happen anytime but student’s application can join the activity is going on because the server is broadcasting the current state to all students’ application at regular interval.

Figure 12. Result WindowFigure 13. Detailed ResultFigure 14. Who's the winner
Figure 12. Result Window  Figure 13. Detailed Result  Figure 14. Who’s the winner

  • After all students submit their answer sheets, see result button is enabled and students can see their own result of quiz. As figure 9 shows, main result window includes total score and correct or wrong information for each question.
  • If clicking detail button, students can check each question’s detailed information: correct answer, number correct people, average rating and my answer.
  • Winner page has information about the winner with highest score at the quiz and the owner with highest average rating for their own-created question.
  • If seeing the results is over, all activities of SMILE end.

Future Studies

Current SMILE will be expanded to an application which enables accessibility to quizzes outside the classroom. Anytime Homework application enables students and teachers have access to SMILE server regardless of the time and place. This application offers different access permission to both students and teachers. Students enjoy individual quiz activity by solving question items saved on the server and also they generate their own questions and upload them to the server anytime. A teacher is also able to have access to SMILE server and manage the quality of homework items saved on the server by removing the questions items with low rating or are less relevant to class-curriculum. Figure 15 represents next version of SMILE including Anytime homework and Junction quiz applications.

Figure 15. Next version of SMILE application

Figure 15. Next version of SMILE application

Publications and Reports

  • Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment(SMILE): using mobile phones to promote student inquires in the elementary classroom
    Sunmi Seol, Aaron Sharp, Paul Kim
    Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference on Frontiers in Education: Computer Science & Computer Engineering, FECS 2011
  • Proceedings of WORLDCOMP’11: The 2011 World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing – Download Paper

People

Faculty       Research Assistant  Research Assistant  Research Assistant    Student

Dr. Paul Kim Sunmi Seol Karimi Arafeh   Ahwazian Rashid Aaron Sharp

Dr. Paul, Kim          Sunmi Seol        Arafeh Karimi   Rashid Ahwazian  Aaron A. Sharp

Interview – Mr Paul Kim [Nov 18, 2009]

Chief Technology Officer, Stanford University School of Education

Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment (SMILE) [Google translation from Spanish, Sept 7, 2011]
Speaker: Claudia Muñoz-Reyes

(Stanford Inquiry-based Mobile Learning Environment – SMILE)

In this digital age, characterized by the rapid development of technologies, people who have less access and education opportunities will be reduced to be at greater risk of leaving the cycle of poverty. They will be increasingly difficult to be able to participate in the growing economies of information and knowledge societies, thereby increasing not only the digital divide-but also what is most important, the knowledge gap. The preferential commodities and value-added of the Century 21, are information and knowledge. Without an innovative intervention that addresses these effects of globalization and rapid technological advancement, the gap will grow more and more, excluding the communities of extreme poverty can not ensure their own survival.

It’s nothing new in Latin America and other developing countries have been taking several initiatives and attempts to introduce technology in public schools in the last 2 decades. In many of these countries, where in recent years have provided rural and suburban schools, old computers, today these “iron dinosaurs” were not only obsolete, but not used and only pollute our environment. Even in the last 6 years, have been giving greater emphasis to pilot projects and programs, driven by governments in most cases by applying the model 1:1, or also known as OLPC (One Laptop per Child), where Unfortunately, no results have been achieved educational and cognitive testing. Moreover, assessments of international experts from various experiences of OLPC in the world are not the most encouraging. Most of these programs have focused primarily on an abundant supply of hardware, often with little support, but above all, without proper teacher training, which keeps pace with the massive deployment of equipment. On the other hand, the vast majority of digital content that are being used by several of these programs are not innovative and do not promote interactive learning and motivating children.

The purpose of SMILE is to provide a pedagogical change in classrooms, through mobile technology. The pedagogical model used is the “Inquiry-based Learning Model” (Model-based Learning Questioning) and models of learning based on problem solving, which encourage creativity, critical thinking and scientific attitude collaborative work, the 21 st Century skills in our children today. Consequently, our dynamic innovative teaching to implement, through mobile devices, focus on the student as the star of the learning process and the teacher becomes more of a facilitator of this process. This tool and formats developed Android platform and IOS (iPhone, iPad) also provides a great opportunity for teachers to quickly assess learning and performance of children individually and in groups.

The first pilot of this innovative program were in India, Malaysia and the United States between January and March 2011 and last experience in August of this year has taken place in rural and suburban schools of Misiones, Argentina, with surprising results .

Short Video of the last experience with rural and suburban schools in Misiones and Buenos Aires, Argentina:

SeedsofEmpowerment [Aug 17, 2011]

Multiple photos and other videos from our pilot projects in Argentina, Malaysia and India using mobile devices (smartphones) and tablets:

http://www.facebook.com/Seeds.of.Empowerment

SMILE (Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment) – Medical education [on slideshare, Nov 23, 2011]

SMILE-MedRIC Interview with Professors [Nov 21, 2011]

SMILE MedRIC-Part1: As part of SMILE project, Medical students in Chungbuk University used SMILE in their Medical Informatics class and created questions on HIV AIDS.

SMILE (Stanford Mobile Interactive Learning Environment)-MedRIC-Korea-Part1 [arafehkarimi, Nov 16, 2011]

Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8
Note: MedRIC (Medical Research Information Center), a Ministry of Science and Technology funded organization in S. Korea, focusing on research and development in medical informatics, medical data visualization, telematics, Virtual Reality-based medical training, and health communication and promotion policies and programs.

Background

Plug Computers [Marvell site, Jan 9, 2012]

Whether the need is remote access to data on a home network or to turn an entire classroom into a highly interactive learning environment, the solution is simple, convenient, and inexpensive. With a small form factor server called a plug computer, network connectivity is right at a wall socket.

Simply insert the plug computer into an electrical outlet and add an external hard drive or a USB flash drive through a USB port (depending on the deployment, a router may also need to be connected into the plug) — just like that, you have a network attached storage device.

Powered by Marvell embedded processors, a plug computer is packed with enough processing power and network connectivity for managing and serving up digital media files. It also draws less than one tenth of the power consumed by its PC counterparts enabling always-on, always-connected, and environmentally friendly computing. With a gigahertz-class processor, memory and storage the plug computer has ample processing power and resources to run any embedded computing application.

Applications for a plug computer include:

  • Media Server
  • Home Automation
  • Remote Access
  • A micro cloud for the classroom

Smile Plug for Education

Powered by Marvell’s high-performance, low power ARMADA® 300 series SoC and Avastar™ 88W8764 Wi-Fi, the SMILE Plug creates a micro-cloud, eliminating the problem of inconsistent Internet access within a classroom and creating a safe and secure connectivity for up to 60 students. The SMILE plug also securely delivers digital content to a range of devices, including personal computers and handheld devices. Teachers and students can now tap into an unprecedented amount of open or premium digital content. The SMILE plug also allows teaches to control and run interactive classrooms with real-time feedback and analytics, deepening the learning experience.

Plug Computer Developer Community

Pioneered by Marvell, the plug computer is originally based on the ARM ultra-low power architecture and built on an Open Development Platform. To encourage manufacturers to create applications on the platform, Marvell founded PlugComputer.org, an online community where developers can discuss ideas and share code solutions.

Enabling Classroom 3.0: Marvell SMILE Plug [Marvell platform brief, Jan 5, 2012]
Enabling Classroom 3.0: Secure Content, Teacher Control

Product Overview

Marvell® is excited and proud to create Classroom 3.0 with SMILE Plug. The SMILE Plug is a revolutionary way to change how technology is used in the classroom, offering unprecedented access to secure digital content, a seamless delivery mechanism, and a simple teacher interface to fully control the classroom.

Marvell’s SMILE Plug enables education institutions to create a micro-cloud within a classroom, facilitating a simple, low-cost way to network classrooms. The SMILE Plug eliminates the problems of inconsistent Internet access within a classroom environment, safely and securely providing connectivity in the classroom. The SMILE Plug also securely delivers digital content to a range of devices, including personal computers and handheld devices. Teachers and students can now tap into an unprecedented amount of open or premium digital content. The SMILE Plug also allows teaches to control and run interactive classrooms with real-time feedback and analytics, deepening the learning experience.

The Marvell SMILE Plug is being developed in partnership between the Stanford® University School of Education and Marvell—both of whom share the vision of using technology to revolutionize and improve the way students learn and educators teach. The SMILE Plug, which is named and built with Stanford’s Mobile Inquiry Based Learning Environment (SMILE), will provide the ability to establish a local Wi-Fi network for up to 60 students. SMILE turns a traditional classroom into a highly interactive learning environment by engaging students in critical reasoning and problem solving while enabling them to generate, share, and evaluate multimedia-rich inquiries. In addition, this creates access to many more SMILE learning applications. To simplify deployment and management of the SMILE Plug, Marvell has developed a plug administration API and user interface called Plugmin.

Smile Plug Components

The SMILE Plug contains the Marvell Plug Computer, as well as all of the software tools needed to develop applications for the platform. I/0 interfaces include 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB, Wi-Fi, and SD card slot up to 32GB. The Plug Computer is an embedded computer that plugs into the wall socket and can run network-based services that normally require a dedicated personal computer. Featuring a Marvell ARM-based CPU running up to 2GHz CPU with 512MB of Flash memory and 512MB of DDR3 memory, the Plug Computer provides ample processing power and resources to run any embedded computing application. Network connectivity is via Gigabit Ethernet; peripheral devices can be connected using USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi.

Software Tools
The SMILE Plug will be based on Arch LinuxTM for ARM and NODE.js, as well as a plug administration API and Stanford’s SMILE environment and software development kit (SDK). All components adhere to the open-source model, making the SMILE Plug an ideal platform on which to develop or port any additional learning applications.  The Plugmin administration client runs on Android-based devices and enables easy administration of the SMILE Plug. Used in conjunction with the SMILE Junction Server Administration Client, the teacher can easily control or run interactive classroom learning experiences.

System-on-Chip (SoC) Solutions

The SMILE Plug Computer incorporates two of Marvell’s industry-leading system-on-chip (SOC) solutions to drive unparalleled application performance and connectivity in online classroom environment:

Marvell ARMADA 300 CPU SoC
This is a high-performance integrated controller. It integrates the Marvell developed CPU core that is fully ARMv5TE compliant with a 256KB L2 Cache. The Marvell ARMADATM 300 (88F6282) builds upon Marvell’s innovative family of processors, improves performance, and adds new features to reduce bill of materials (BOM) costs. The 88F6282 is suitable for a wide range of applications such as routers, gateway, media server, storage, thin clients, set-top box, networking, point of service and printer products. For product information, visit http://www.marvell.com/embeddedprocessors/armada-300/assets/armada_310.pdf

Marvell Avastar 88W8764 Wi-Fi SoC
This is a highly integrated 4×4 wireless local area network (WLAN) system-on-chip (SoC), specifically designed to support high throughput data rates for next generation WLAN products. The device is designed to support IEEE 802.11n/a/g/b payload data rates. The Marvell Avastar® 88W8764 provides the combined functions of DSSS, OFDM, and MIMO baseband modulation, MAC, on-chip CPU, memory, host interfaces, and direct-conversion WLAN RF radio on a single integrated chip. The device supports 802.11n beamformer and beamformee functionality, enabling a simplified, integrated solution. For product information, visit http://www.marvell.com/wireless/assets/Marvell-Avastar-88W8764-SoC.pdf

Key Features and Benefits

image

http://www.archlinux.org/

Arch Linux, a lightweight and flexible Linux® distribution that tries to Keep It Simple.

Currently we have official packages optimized for the i686 and x86-64 architectures. We complement our official package sets with a community-operated package repositorythat grows in size and quality each and every day.

Our strong community is diverse and helpful, and we pride ourselves on the range of skillsets and uses for Arch that stem from it. Please check out our forums and mailing lists to get your feet wet. Also glance through our wiki if you want to learn more about Arch.

About Arch Linux [Dec 5, 2008]

Arch Linux is an independently developed, i686/x86-64 general purpose GNU/Linux distribution versatile enough to suit any role. Development focuses on simplicity, minimalism, and code elegance. Arch is installed as a minimal base system, configured by the user upon which their own ideal environment is assembled by installing only what is required or desired for their unique purposes. GUI configuration utilities are not officially provided, and most system configuration is performed from the shell by editing simple text files. Arch strives to stay bleeding edge, and typically offers the latest stable versions of most software.

Arch Linux uses its own Pacman package manager, which couples simple binary packages with an easy-to-use package build system. This allows users to easily manage and customize packages ranging from official Arch software to the user’s own personal packages to packages from 3rd party sources. The repository system also allows users to easily build and maintain their own custom build scripts, packages, and repositories, encouraging community growth and contribution.

The minimal Arch base package set resides in the streamlined [core] repository. In addition, the official [extra], [community], and [testing] repositories provide several thousand high-quality, packages to meet your software demands. Arch also offers an [unsupported] section in the Arch Linux User Repository (AUR), which contains over 9,000 build scripts, for compiling installable packages from source using the Arch Linux makepkg application.

Arch Linux uses a “rolling release” system which allows one-time installation and perpetual software upgrades. It is not generally necessary to reinstall or upgrade your Arch Linux system from one “version” to the next. By issuing one command, an Arch system is kept up-to-date and on the bleeding edge.

Arch strives to keep its packages as close to the original upstream software as possible. Patches are applied only when necessary to ensure an application compiles and runs correctly with the other packages installed on an up-to-date Arch system.

To summarize: Arch Linux is a versatile, and simple distribution designed to fit the needs of the competent Linux® user. It is both powerful and easy to manage, making it an ideal distro for servers and workstations. Take it in any direction you like. If you share this vision of what a GNU/Linux distribution should be, then you are welcomed and encouraged to use it freely, get involved, and contribute to the community. Welcome to Arch!

New Arch Linux ARM website! [June 22, 2011]

Welcome to the new Arch Linux ARM site! We hope you like the new layout, organization, and the brand new, unified effort from the PlugApps and ArchMobile teams.

For our existing PlugApps/Plugbox users, you have probably already got the new “rebranding” packages that renames much of PlugApps to Arch Linux ARM (ALARM for short), but beyond that, we’re still the same team members with the same goal in mind – to create an advanced but simple Linux distribution for ARM devices such as plug computers and newer ARM devices.

We’d love to hear your feedback on the change – post in the forums or get in touch with us in the Support menu.

Thanks for using Arch Linux ARM and you’ll be hearing a lot more from us as we go!

Welcome ArchMobile.org Visitors! [July 23, 2011]

You may not have noticed unless you came here looking for ArchMobile.org, but the domain now redirects to Arch Linux ARM.

ArchMobile was the first effort aimed at making Arch Linux run on ARM, with an emphasis on mobile phones such as the OpenMoko. PlugApps was the other effort, aimed at making Arch Linux for plug computers. They decided to join forces and create a new, unified effort, Arch Linux ARM, for all ARM devices. This redirect completes the move to Arch Linux ARM as the base for everyone’s work.

So, welcome! Post in the forums and join us on IRC!

Arch Linux ARM [June 26, 2011]

Arch Linux ARM is a distribution of Linux for ARM computers. We are aimed at ARMv5 platforms like plug computers, OXNAS-based ARMv6 PogoPlugs, Cortex-A8 platforms such as the BeagleBoard, and Cortex-A9 and Tegra platforms like the PandaBoard and TrimSlice. However, it can run on any device that supports ARMv5te or Cortex-A instruction sets. Our collaboration with Arch Linuxbrings users the best platform, newest packages, and installation support.

Arch Linux ARM is a full Linux distribution with all of the console, server, and desktop applications you’d find anywhere else. You can run many popular services, such as CUPS to print from networked computers; Apache, Lighttpd, Cherokee, and Nginx for web servers with full PHP and CGI support; FTP, NFS, AFP, Rendezvous, Windows and Time Machine-compatible Samba servers; or install a desktop environment (with a web browser, text editors, and more) accessible through VNC, DisplayLink, or HDMI displays.

The entire distribution is on a rolling-release cycle that can be updated daily through small packages instead of huge updates every few months. Most packages are unmodified from what the upstream developer originally released.

Platforms (exerpted as of Feb 1, 2012):

PlugApps maintains two software repositories specifically designed for the features available in each platform. The devices listed for each platform are those we officially support with precompiled kernels and root file systems tailored to their unique configurations.

However, just because a device isn’t listed doesn’t mean the software won’t run on it. Any ARM system with any of the architectures we compile for will be able to run the software, and any newer systems that are backwards compatible will be able to use the software as well.

Choose a platform from the menu above or in the list below to get started.

ARMv5

 
Processor
RAM
NAND
Ethernet
USB
SATA
Pogoplug Series 4
Marvell Kirkwood 800MHz
128MB
128MB
Gigabit
3
1
Pogoplug v2 (Pink/Gray)
Marvell Kirkwood 1.2GHz
256MB
128MB
Gigabit
4
 
Seagate DockStar
Marvell Kirkwood 1.2GHz
128MB
256MB
Gigabit
4
 
Seagate GoFlex Home
Marvell Kirkwood 1.2GHz
128MB
256MB
Gigabit
1
1
Seagate GoFlex Net
Marvell Kirkwood 1.2GHz
128MB
256MB
Gigabit
1
2
SheevaPlug
Marvell Kirkwood 1.2GHz
512MB
512MB
Gigabit
1
 
TonidoPlug
Marvell Kirkwood 1.2GHz
512MB
512MB
Gigabit
1
 

ARMv6

 
Processor
RAM
NAND
Ethernet
USB
SATA
Pogoplug Pro/Video/v3
PLX 7820 700MHz Dual-core
128MB
128MB
Gigabit
4
1

ARMv7

 
Processor
RAM
Ethernet
SD
USB
Wireless
BeagleBoard
TI OMAP 3530 720MHz
256MB
10/100
Full SD
1
 
BeagleBoard-xM
TI DM3730 1GHz
512MB
10/100
Micro SD
4
 
Gumstix Overo
TI OMAP 35xx 600/720MHz
512MB
10/100
Micro SD
Exp
B/G, Bluetooth v2.0 + EDR
PandaBoard
TI OMAP 4430 1GHz Dual-core
1024MB
10/100
Full SD
2
B/G/N, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR
TrimSlice
NVIDIA Tegra 2, 1GHz Dual-core
1024MB
Gigabit
Full and Micro SD
4